Various projects in which the federal government has actively participated have been successfully completed.
Action plan for synthetic nanomaterials
An action plan on the safe handling of nanomaterials was implemented in Switzerland between 2008 and 2019.
The action plan, launched by the Federal Council, recognised the growing importance of nanotechnology and nanomaterials in research, business and society. The action plan created a framework enabling new opportunities to be explored, sustainable applications to be developed and potential risks to already be investigated in the course of the innovation process to enable early measures to be taken to protect health and the environment.
Besides creating the scientific and methodological conditions, the action plan also involved communication activities and the promotion of public dialogue about the opportunities and risks.
Results of the action plan:
- Various events took place to foster dialogue with consumer and environmental organisations, businesses, academia and public authorities.
- The federal government’s website on nanotechnology – Infonano.ch – was set up.
- A number of guidance documents were published to help identify the possible risks posed by nanomaterials and communicate important safety information along the length of the production and delivery chain, such as the «Precautionary matrix for synthetic nanomaterials» and the «Safety Data Sheet (SDS): Guidelines for synthetic nanomaterials».
- Diverse nano-specific requirements were set out in Swiss law and adapted to reflect the regulations on nanomaterials applicable in the EU.
- New measurement and testing methods were developed for nanomaterials, particularly for characterising nanomaterials.
The action plan ran until the end of 2019. It created a framework that will allow pending work to be executed beyond the term of the action plan across various federal offices. Switzerland continues to actively support the revision of domestic and international guidance and guidelines for the testing and assessment of nanomaterials. It also cooperates internationally to develop new nano-specific measurement and testing methods in the relevant OECD working groups. This way the safe handling of nanomaterials in Switzerland will continue to be assured in the future.
National research programmes
Smart Materials – National Research Programme NRP 62:
As a cooperation programme between the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and the Commission for Technology and Innovation (CTI), the ‘Smart Materials’ National Research Programme (NRP 62) aimed to promote the development of new smart materials and to transfer R&D projects with high application potential to the CTI. NRP 62 was launched in 2010 and was concluded in the spring of 2015.
Opportunities and Risks of Nanomaterials – National Research Programme NRP 64:
The research conducted as part of this programme delivered scientific insights to issue recommendations and appropriate measures for the manufacture, use and disposal of synthetic nanoparticles. This will allow society to benefit from the scientific progress in the field of synthetic nanomaterials and their applications, while protecting consumers and the environment. Work started on NRP 64 in December 2010 and was concluded in 2017.
EU research projects
NANoREG (Regulatory testing of nanomaterials): this project focused on issues of relevance to legislation. The FOEN, FOPH and SECO were involved in this project together with various Swiss research partners, who participated in the development of models for assessing exposure at the workplace (IST, Lausanne), as well as in the identification of methods for characterising nanomaterials (Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne) and the development of high throughput screening methods (EMPA laboratories). NANoREG was concluded in 2017.
ProSafe: As a continuation of the projects co-financed within the scope of NANoREG, Switzerland participated in the Horizon 2020 PROSAFE project, which ran until 2017 and focused on the development of a ‘safe by design’ methodology for nanomaterials.
Last modification 11.05.2022
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