ties of ENMs affect their interactions with humans and the environment (bottom of Figure 2-1).
In approaching the charge to develop research priorities, the committee applied the framework developed in Chapter 2 to the research and development needs identified in Chapters 3 and 4, and in doing so, identified four broad, cross-cutting research priority categories. These mirror the larger elements of the conceptual framework described in Chapter 2 and map directly to the critical research needs identified in Chapters 3 and 4. At the chapter’s end, the committee discusses the resources needed to implement a strategic research plan within the context of these priority categories. The research categories are
• Adaptive research and knowledge infrastructure for accelerating research progress and providing rapid feedback to advance research.
• Characterizing and quantifying the origins of nanomaterial releases.
• Processes affecting both potential hazard and exposure.
• Nanomaterial interactions in complex systems ranging from subcellular systems to ecosystems.
Given the diversity of nanomaterials and the breadth of their potential applications, the committee considered that a prescriptive approach to addressing the EHS aspects of nanomaterials would be short-sighted and would probably fail to anticipate the rapid evolution of this field and its potential impacts. Rather, in selecting the four broad categories, the committee envisioned a risk-based system that is iteratively informed and shaped by the outcomes of research and new findings.
Thus, its approach addresses one goal in particular as described in Chapter 1: to generate scientific evidence that provides approaches to environmental and human health protection even as our knowledge of ENMs is expanding and the research strategy is evolving. Furthermore, as the research strategy is evolving, an adaptive and integrated knowledge infrastructure will be developed to identify and enable prediction of risks posed by nanomaterials with sufficient certainty to enable informed decisions on how the risks should be managed or mitigated. The knowledge infrastructure also will provide evidence that helps to identify and evaluate the merits of various risk-management options, including measures to reduce inherent hazard or exposures to nanomaterials.
The committee proposes a strategy to address the EHS aspects of nanomaterials that sets priorities for research efforts that bridge complex and model systems, exposure and hazard, and immediate and long-term concerns, thus reflecting the need for systems integration described in Chapter 3. The strategy also favors the development of supporting measurement and modeling tools to advance the study of nanomaterial interactions among the risk-assessment domains of exposure, hazard, and risk characterization. Such broad, overarching priorities were deemed important by the committee, given the relevance of nanomaterials to numerous scientific and technical disciplines— including elec-