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NanoCommons Demonstration Case - Support for project clusters: Safe-by-Design, risk governance, nanofabrication

The projects in the nanoinformatics, Safe-by-Design, governance and nanofabrication clusters all generate data and develop tools and platforms, which are in danger of becoming islands or silos not talking to each other. This case is meant to coordinate community activities and design approaches to prevent fragmentation, enable integration and, in this way, support sustainability. This case is ongoing.

Table of contents


NanoCommons is meant to build the community infrastructure for nanosafety research in all its aspects and diversity. However, there are many other projects in this area, which are developing tools, services and even platforms and portals, and indeed which are already working as clusters within the overarching NanoSafety Cluster remit (Note that the NanoSafety Cluster itself is unfunded so all clustering activities and agreed actions are funded via the projects themselves). These are a number of related projects funded by H2020 within the nanoinformatics, Safe-by-Design, governance, nanofabrication calls to name just a few. To avoid these all becoming islands or silos not talking to each other, developing tools in isolation that cannot be integrated or sustained over the long term, to prevent fragmentation of nanosafety data and simultaneously achieve a harmonisation of data, this demonstration case will analyse the requirements to define general interfaces for interoperability, core e-infrastructure components and also attempt to solve legal issues to preserve confidentiality and IP rights. The goals will be to

  1. establish a neutral approach to support harmonisation, interoperability, sustainability and to foster a community development / collaborative approach to co-develop a robust set of complementary solutions to support the range of stakeholders needs, and
  2. support these sub-clusters through networking and brokering activities, identifying key areas where some “bridging” resources are needed to allow cross-talk and make the whole nanosafety ecosystem much more than the sum of the individual parts (projects).

This demonstration case can already build on established interactions with the former European H2020 project EPPN (European Network for Pilot Production Facilities and Innovation Hubs), as well as with the nanofabrication-network H2020-NMBP-12-projects, SUSNANOFAB and NanoFabNet. In the area of risk governance, a collaboration with the H2020-NMBP-13-projects Gov4Nano, RiskGONE and NANORIGO shall support the uptake of data management principles along the data life cycle, including development of consensus on workflows for evaluation of data quality, completeness and fitness for different re-use purposes. Furthermore, integrating activities are underway with the H2020-NMBP-15-projects SAbyNA and ASINA via their TA actions, and SABYDOMA and SbD4Nano via beneficiary UM as data manager in both projects, together with IDEA Consult. This ensures the development of services related to brokerage and support at the technical (harmonisation, interoperability) and data management levels, and linking existing tools to SME and industry partner needs. It is envisaged to broaden the interaction by interacting with the recently started H2020-NMBP-16-projects HARMLESS, DIAGONAL and SUNSHINE. These activities are coordinated in alignment with the NanoSafety Cluster WG-E “Innovation and Safer-by-Design” and with the already existing core-group in the NMBP-13 projects, with the aim of creating a platform for consultancy and guideline for research and industry.


This demonstration case aims for developing (with the S(S)bD and governance projects, as well as with the NSC WG-E) a landscape map of current and in-development tools to support nanomaterial governance and nano-SbD, and their technical specifications (programming language, API availability and type) and technology readiness level, as well as data sources it utilises / inputs and outputs etc. and from this develop a clustering of supports and needs to support their interoperability.

It will also document examples of the use of SbD process in specific Pilot Production Facilities or individual companies and enhance our understanding of the barrier to integration of SbD tools by industry and SME lack of awareness, lack of validation by industry bodies / regulators, cost to implement, legal liabilities etc.


  1. Organise a set of workshops with the S(S)bD projects (NMPB-15/-16), governance projects (NMBP-13) and others working on or with SbD to begin the process of mapping the landscape, and introduce the concept of the technical mapping and the vision of NanoCommons as providing the bridging and optimisation of linking between different approaches to provide an integrated suite of solutions for users. Based on these, develop the technical SbD landscape map, and evaluate how the approaches cluster or diverge, and what technical solutions NanoCommons (or more likely its successor project) might offer / develop to bridge these gaps.
  2. In parallel co-organise workshops or focus groups with nanofabrication projects (NMBP-12) to assess current uses and barriers to adoption of SbD tools coming from EU projects - what might increase their confidence to adopt them? We will also include stakeholder representation bodies like CEFIC / ECETOC and EUON to test industry and regulatory backing and identify options to improve application in regulatory settings, e.g. by targeting integration of data and derived evidence within IUCLID6 rather than research databases.
  3. Evaluate whether the tools identified in task 2 match or diverge from those identified in task 1 and correlate needs with tools identified in the landscape map. Identity actions to remove barriers identified that may be implemented in the short, medium and longer terms. Many of these lessons can also be generalised to other types of tools and services for nanosafety.

Expected outputs

  • Joint papers on the SbD landscape as well as on evaluation of completeness and fitness for purpose for re-use of data in terms of tools under development, the programming language they use, whether an API is available / planned and if yes which type (since NanoCommons WP4 infrastructure has an approach to work with multiple APIs to allow maximum flexibility to tell developers rather than forcing tool developers to adopt a specific approach).

  • Generalised processes for clustering tools and service development around a specific area that can be taken forward in subsequent projects / activities, and feed into EOSC, ELIXIR toxicology, NSC, etc.

  • Generalised processes for evaluating the uptake and barriers to uptake of nanoinformatics tools, models and approaches by industry stakeholders (and regulatory ones in combination with the demonstration case on requirements for regulatory acceptance of nanoinformatics workflows below).