Safe by Design for nanomaterials—late lessons from early warnings for sustainable innovation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Downloads (Pure)


The Safe by Design conceptual initiative being developed for nanomaterials offers a template for a new sustainable innovation approach for advanced materials with four important sustainability characteristics. Firstly, it requires potential toxicity risks to be evaluated earlier in the innovation cycle simultaneously with its chemical functionality and possible commercial applications. Secondly, it offers future options for reducing animal laboratory testing by early assessment using in silico predictive toxicological approaches, minimizing the number that reaches in vitro and in vivo trials. Thirdly, it promotes a culture of shared responsibility for ethical and sustainable outcomes in the innovation process by promoting early dialogue between groups with vested interests. Finally, it offers the prospect of a more democratized innovation process by including civil society actors in decisions on product safety, commercial applications, and social utility. Collectively, these four characteristics offer the prospect for a new social contract between science, technology, and society for the societal alignment and sustainable innovation of advanced materials.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-103
Number of pages5
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 3 Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).


  • Safe by Design
  • Shared responsibility
  • Social contract
  • Sustainable innovation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Philosophy
  • History and Philosophy of Science
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


Dive into the research topics of 'Safe by Design for nanomaterials—late lessons from early warnings for sustainable innovation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this