Creating a meaningful dialogue about risk assessment and management of nano-(bio)materials through cross-cutting insights from nanosafety and nanomedicine fields was the mission a training school delivered by three EU-funded Horizon 2020 projects BIORIMA, GRACIOUS and NanoInformaTIX. 47 young researchers were brought together from across the globe (spanning Europe, North and Latin America) to learn from 26 nanotechnology experts at the historic centre of Venice, Italy, over the week of 25 to 29 March 2019, for intensive yet exciting training.
Insights from the Horizon 2020 BIORIMA, GRACIOUS and NanoInformaTIX Projects Joint Training School
Inspired by the need to promote and foster a dialogue between the nanosafety and nanomedicine communities, the Programme Committee of the school came up with the novel idea to design a training school which combines Interprofessional Education (IPE) and Case-based Learning (CBL). While IPE promotes engagement and learning from students/professionals with different backgrounds, CBL aims to link theory to practice by the application of knowledge to real-world problems. Combining the two approaches allows that students use their background knowledge in an active way while developing new knowledge through interactions around the problems assigned to them in group work.
Turning this idea into practice, prominent key-note speakers featuring representatives from industry, academia, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the European Commission were invited to join forces with world renowned nano-environmental, health and safety, and biomedicine professionals to deliver the 1st interprofessional education nano-focused training school “Cutting Edge Approaches for the Risk Assessment and Management of Nano-(bio)materials: From the Lab to the Market”. Early stage researchers with different backgrounds (e.g. environmental science, chemistry, biology, physics, mathematics) were grouped together in highly interactive sessions to discuss and find solutions to problems posed on a number of diverse topics such as hazard to human health & environment, fate & exposure assessment, risk assessment & risk management, and nanomedicine. Further, the training was complemented with hands-on sessions on modelling, grouping and read-across approaches relevant for nano-(bio)materials risk assessment.
The school proved to be a successful synergistic effort among the three EU-funded projects BIORIMA, GRACIOUS and NanoInformaTIX, and made an important contribution to the training of a new generation of creative and innovative researchers from the cross-cutting disciplines of nanosafety and nanomedicine. Furthermore, the adopted teaching approach was warmly welcomed by students as manifested in the results from a post-event evaluation survey: nearly 70 % of the students completing the survey found that CBL is a more efficient way to acquire new knowledge.
One of the delegates commented: “It was a great opportunity to network with students and researchers in the field, as well as a very constructive learning experience with interdisciplinary case studies.”
Another participant added: “Group work, where people have different backgrounds, is very efficient. Case studies are great, they make you feel the subject”.
The three projects will continue to work together and are discussing new collaboration options with other EU-funded initiatives, with the aim to re-shape and deliver a future multidisciplinary nanosafety training agenda.
GRACIOUS develops a highly innovative science-based framework to enable practical application of Grouping, leading to Read Across and classification of nanomaterials and nanoforms.
Project Duration: 42 months, starting January 2018
Consortium: The GRACIOUS consortium consists of 23 partners spanning Europe and the USA, including representatives from academia, industry, policy makers and regulators.
Total Budget: 7.1 Million EUR
BIORIMA aims to develop an Integrated Risk Management (IRM) framework for nano-(bio)materials used in advanced therapy medicinal products and medical devices.
Project Duration: 48 months, starting in November 2017
Consortium: BIORIMA brings together Europe’s foremost experts in the fields of human and environmental safety assessment, nano-(bio)material analytical analysis and physico-chemical characterisation, in-silico modelling, exposure, and risk assessment. The BIORIMA consortium consists of 41 partners, spanning 14 countries in the EU. Additionally, there is strong global collaboration with partners also located in China and Japan.
Total Budget: 7.6 Million EUR
NanoInformaTIX aims to develop, validate and implement a sustainable informatics framework, based on modelling of the entire life cycle, for the risk assessment of engineered nanomaterials for informing safer design of quality products.
Project Duration: 50 months, starting in January 2019
Consortium: NanoInformaTIX gathers 36 partners from 18 European and 4 international countries (Taiwan, China, South Africa, Israel), counting on renowned experts in the fields of nanomaterials safety, modelling, computational chemistry, toxicology and eco-toxicology.
Total Budget: 7.7 Million EUR