Stakeholder Spotlight - ISQ
Tell us a little about your organisation. How do the areas of nanotechnology and sustainability impact your work?
ISQ’s main activities includes technical inspections, consultancy, testing, metrology, training and research and development in a wide range of technical areas such as materials, structural integrity, risk assessment, sustainability, eco and energy efficiency, quality assurance, production technologies, industrial automation and robotics.
ISQ has been positioned as leader in nanosafety assessment and management through different EU projects, such as NANoREG; PROCETS; LIGHTME; LIGHTCOCE; MULTI-FUN; and PureNano. Furthermore, ISQ is a member, coordinate the activities (as the Sector Standardization Body) and has the secretariat of the Portuguese Technical Committee CT 194 -Nanotechnologies. The latter is a “mirror committee” of the European Technical Committee CEN/TC352 and International ISO/TC229.
What is the newest/most innovative development in nanotechnology that you and/or your organisation is excited about now?
At ISQ, we work on the consolidation and development of life cycle assessment methods and risk assessment protocols applicable to the production and use of nanomaterials, such as for example monitorisation techniques or safe-by-design strategies. These developments have benefited from the primary data resulted as part of the H2020 research projects where ISQ is involved.
What, in your opinion, is the most important thing (tool, process, support, etc.) that is needed right now to help grow and strengthen the nanotechnology community?
Strengthening collaboration within actors of the nanomaterials value change and the communication of the most important results are key to advance in the sustainability and safety aspect of the technology. At ISQ, we have led a process to create a Portuguese consortium called PToNANO, which also involve three national public entities (the National Health Institute Doutor Ricardo Jorge – INSA, the Portuguese General Directorate of Health – DGS, and The Portuguese Institute for Quality – IPQ).
The aims of this network include the identification of the main national actors (i.e., industry, academy, regulator, among others) working in nanotechnology and the main gaps and needs regarding the environmental, health and safety (EHS) aspects related to production, use and end-of-life of nanomaterial, in order to facilitate a close collaborations with and between interested parties; and the development of new approaches for the safety assessment of nanomaterials, such as “Safe-by-Design”.
What, in your opinion, are important factors or influences that will affect the direction of the nanotechnology community in the future?
Science communication and dissemination regarding how unintended effects that can adversely impact the environment and humans were prevented, mitigated or controlled is an important factor that still need to be addressed by the community. Another challenge is how to increase levels of cooperation between the industries, public interest groups, and government parties to develop safe, sustainable and viable nano-based solutions.