On November 15, 2018, the European Nanosafety Cluster published the EU-US Nanoinformatics 2030 Roadmap. The document is a joint effort of European and American scientists from multiple fields that comprise nanoinformatics. It lays out the challenges the scientific community needs to address in order to be able to efficiently research the environmental and health safety of nanotechnology.
To better understand the properties of nanomaterials, it is essential to collect, store and analyze enormous amounts of data. Nanoinformatics, a relatively new research field, seeks to develop the tools and structures needed to solve the many inherent challenges of this process. First among the challenges is a lack of comprehensive databases and various restrictions to access them. Second, and perhaps more problematic, is the lack of regulatory requirements for data collection, standards, and definitions. To address these challenges, we need a set of harmonized and interconnected databases that are built according to an accepted framework, the development of corresponding modeling and assessment techniques, and the creation of global collaboration channels
The document introduces guidelines that help address some of the challenges described above. It offers a model for creating a set of structured databases for coordinated data collection. Those databases could then be used to model, predict and validate the properties of new materials and their possible hazards. These predictions and assessments would then be available to inform policy and support the development of appropriate regulatory action for the safety of the public and the protection of the environment. Towards the safe use of nanotechnology, policymakers and researchers in related fields may consider how the guidelines described in this document apply to them and take part in the discussion this document rises.