Nurturing International Collaboration to Advance Research and Safe and Sustainable by Design Efforts for a More Sustainable Future

June 22, 2023

Insights from the INFRAMES Meeting in Venice and the 2023 NanoSafety Training School “SSbD Approaches for Chemicals, Advanced Materials & Plastics”

On 15-19 May 2023, the H2020 SUNSHINE project was delighted to host and co-organise a week of high impact events gathering  more than 130  international scientists  from various communities (spanning experts in nanosafety, advanced materials, plastics and safe and sustainable by design (SSbD)among others) in the historical centre of Venice  to discuss the latest approaches and trends in the field of advanced (nano) materials.

The week started with the 12th Nanosafety Training School. In line with Europe's ambition towards a more sustainable and resource-efficient global economy this year’s school focused on SSbD approaches for chemicals, advanced materials and plastics.

Jointly organised by the Horizon2020 projects SUNSHINE, DIAGONAL, HARMLESS, ASINA, SABYDOMA, SAbyNA, SbD4Nano, and the US-led  INFRAMES initiative, this edition of the school brought in international perspectives on a number of topics, including: SSbD approaches for nanomaterials and advanced materials,  Environmental and health impacts of advanced (nano) materials, micro and nano plastics, Methods to assess the properties of advanced materials, their release, fate, biodistribution and exposure, New approach methodologies (NAMs) for hazard assessment, FAIR data management in nanoinformatics , Computational modelling of properties and interactions, Sustainability assessment methods (environmental, social and economic), Policy perspectives  on risk governance of nanotechnologies, Responsible Research and Innovation.

In-line with the week’s theme “Nurturing international collaboration”,  on 18 May the School agenda started with a keynote speech from Coordinator of the US-led international research network INFRAMES, Dr Mark Wiesner addressing insights from the latest research on release, fate and exposure to advanced materials. Hosting the INFRAMES annual meeting in parallel and together with the School, we were able to provide a good avenue to boost  the US and EU networks addressing materials sustainability, foster knowledge exchange and to discuss staff exchange opportunities.

SUNSHINE and INFRAMES have a long collaboration history initiated within the International Collaboration Work Package (WP) of SUNSHINE. Facilitated by the WP Leader Dr Lang Tran and the SUNSHINE Coordinator, Dr Danail Hristozov, numerous collaboration routes such as oversees staff exchange and knowledge transfer opportunities were designed and further open up to other EU funded projects working on (nano-) safety and sustainability of advanced materials.

Danail Hristozov and Mark Wiesner
Danail Hristozov and Mark Wiesner

“The synergies between the international communities in INFRAMES and SUNSHINE are numerous. Our hope is that, in coming together as a single community in Venice, we have planted the seed for broader, long-term collaborations that will address the challenges posed by new materials such as nanomaterials”

-Dr Mark Wiesner

“The two events have provided a unique opportunity to foster fruitful scientific collaborations between SUNSHINE and INFRAMES, building a truly international community working on topics of high societal and environmental impact”

-Dr Danail Hristozov


SUNSHINE is an industry-oriented project, where leading research and technology organisations cooperate with SMEs and large industries to develop and implement simple, robust, and cost-effective Safe-and-Sustainable-by-Design (SSbD) strategies for materials and products based on advanced multi-component nanomaterials. To this end, the project has established a user-friendly e-infrastructure as a digital hub to foster dialogue, collaboration, and information exchange between actors along entire product supply chains to support SSbD decision making and prototyping.


INFRAMES (International Network for Researching, Advancing, and Assessing Materials for Environmental Sustainability) leverages the substantial investments in US and EU networks in the area of environmental nanotechnology to assemble a coordinated international community of researchers dedicated to assessing the sustainability of the materials our society produces. INFRAMES includes 18 US universities associated with the Center for the Environmental Implications of NanoTechnology (CEINT) and the Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology (CSN), along with networks representing over 100 participating EU and UK partners, the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Ghana, and researchers at six synchrotron X-ray facilities in four countries.