Nanotechnology Project

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Environment, Health and Safety Research

Nanomaterials and the Environment

Project Information

Principal InvestigatorKatheryn Uhrich
InstitutionRutgers University
Project URLView
Relevance to ImplicationsSubstantial
Class of NanomaterialGeneric
Impact SectorEnvironment
Broad Research Categories Characterization
Risk Management
NNI identifier

Funding Information

Anticipated Total Fundingn/a
Annual Fundingn/a
Funding SourceNIH
Funding MechanismOther
Funding SectorGovernment
Start Year2005
Anticipated End Year2006


The objective of this symposium is to highlight the latest research results in the emerging topic of the environmental aspects of nanomaterials. The National Nanotechnology Initiative, in its Strategic Plan for 2004, lists the Responsible Development of Nanotechnology as one of its four major goals. Responsible Development includes the study of environment, health, and safety implications, as well as ethical, legal, and societal issues. This forum is intended to bring together materials scientists, chemists, biologists, toxicologists, and ecologists to foster a cross-disciplinary discussion of: 1) the application of nanotechnology to the environment for the purposes of sensing and monitoring, remediation and treatment, and pollution prevention; and 2) the implications of nanotechnology on the environment, including potential health and environmental effects of nanomaterials. The symposium is also intended to encourage industry and research experts to include sustainability and efficiency aspects for materials and energy flow in their development projects. Societal, ethical, regulatory, and policy issues, along with nomenclature and measurement standards, will also be topics of discussion. The symposium is an effort to broadly include an interdisciplinary dialogue on nanotechnology, its applications, and implications. A key goal of this symposium is to bring together researchers to increase the fundamental understanding of nanomaterial interaction at the molecular and cellular level through in vitro and in vivo experiments and models, as well as their fate and transport in the environment throughout their life cycles. We anticipate that this, along with identification and characterization of potential exposure and risk, will contribute to determining human health impact and should be of significant interest to the National Institutes of Health. Technically competent social science research on the interaction between nanotechnology and society will dispel some of the hype and enable constructive public engagement.