Nanotechnology is widely held to offer great potential for the development of new materials, products, processes and economic growth over the coming years. It is however recognised that there are at this stage significant uncertainties concerning the risks that some of these new materials may pose to the health of those working with them, the wider public and to the general environment.
These uncertainties were detailed in the 2004 report of the Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering "Nanoscience and Nanotechnologies: opportunities and uncertainties". One of the recommendations of this report is that "Research Councils UK establish an interdisciplinary research centre to research the toxicity, epidemiology, persistence, exposure pathways and bioaccumulation of manufactured nanoparticles" and to "develop methodologies and instrumentation for monitoring them".
In support of these aims we have established a multidisciplinary research collaboration: The Safety of Nano-materials Interdisciplinary Research Centre (SnIRC). It is based on existing collaborations between the Institute of Occupational Medicine in Edinburgh, Napier University, Aberdeen University, Edinburgh University and the US National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
The founding SnIRC partners are Dr Rob Aitken and Dr Lang Tran (Institute of Occupational Medicine), Prof. Ken Donaldson (Edinburgh University), Prof Jon Ayres (Aberdeen University), Dr Vicki Stone (Napier University) and Dr Andrew Maynard (NIOSH). The SnIRC collaboration is chaired by Prof Anthony Seaton. SnIRC is an inclusive collaboration with strong links to many UK and international initiatives and researchers currently active in this area.
Use the links for more information about the background, aims and collaborating partners within the SnIRC initiative.