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Engineered nanomaterials are the building blocks for many new technologies of the 21st century, from industry through to medicine.

Their importance in both technological and economic terms is phenomenal. However, the production, use and disposal of nanomaterials may pose a threat to humans and the environment.

The National Research Programme "Opportunities and risks of nanomaterials" (NRP 64) identifies areas where research is needed in order to better understand the major opportunities and possible risks posed by products based on engineered nanoparticles.

NRP 64 specifically aims to:

  • gain insight into engineered nanomaterials, their development, behaviour and risks;
  • develop methods and tools to monitor the behaviour of nanomaterials and their potential effects on humans and the environment;
  • develop tools that maximise the advantages of nanomaterials and minimise the risks for humans and the environment;
  • support the development of safe and effective technologies based on nanomaterials;
  • provide information to decision-makers and end-users;
  • enhance and strengthen specialist knowledge and competencies in the development of innovative nanomaterials and risk assessment in Switzerland.

The Swiss National Science Foundation was commissioned by the Federal Council on 28 November 2007 to carry out the National Research Programme "Opportunities and risks of nanomaterials". The overall funding is CHF 12 million for 5 years of research.

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