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FutureNanoNeeds is the title of the project in which RIVM in a consortium of 23 international partners is studying safety designs for the development of new nano particles. The project started in 2014 with a study in nanotechnology that can contribute to improving the efficiency of solar cells and battery energy storage. RIVM is contributing to this project by studying how knowledge on the safety of nanoparticles can be obtained in an early stage of innovation development.


Currently, safety research on nanoparticles focuses mainly on existing particles, which in comparison are less complex in composition. However, industry is gradually focusing on new generation nanoparticles, for which studies show promising results for potential applications in the energy sector and other sectors. FutureNanoNeeds is studying in the particle development phase the potential effect of these new nanoparticles on human health and the environment. In this respect, the project consortium will develop a calculation model to estimate the risks of this new generation of nanoparticles before they go into full production. These calculation models will be suitable for use by government and the private sector.

Artist's impression of a carbon nano tube 


Nanotechnology enables materials with minute particles to be processed. These nanoparticles can have extraordinary properties, for instance, non-conductive substances become conductive, and opaque materials become transparent. There are many areas of application for nanotechnology, which offer social and economic opportunities. New technology brings new products, and often products that can improve our quality of life but we need to ensure these products are safe.

In the middle of international community

RIVM’s role in nanotechnology is an objective party, an institute that advises, and is a pivot in international research such as the FutureNanoNeeds. RIVM has roles as knowledge integrator, risk assessor and initiator in the international context contributing insight into potential future risks of nanomaterials.

RIVM works together with sister institutes and contributes to organisations, such as OECD, ISO, WHO and European Union.