EMPA, the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Material Science and Technology, is a research institution within the ETH domain and plays an important role in education, science and innovation in Switzerland. It specializes in applications, focused research and development, and provides high-level services in the field of sustainable materials science and technology. Its core tasks are innovative collaboration with industry and public institutions, ensuring the safety of people and the environment, knowledge propagation and university-level teaching.
The Technology and Society Lab (TSL) is an interdisciplinary research unit of Empa studying opportunities and risks of emerging technologies. A team of about 30 researchers is active in the fields of information and communication technologies, nanoscale technologies, renewable energy and resource management. TSL analyses technologies embedded in social processes, focusing on the interactions among technology, environment and society with an emphasis on material flows connected with emerging technology applications. The Lab creates knowledge that supports industry in developing technologies that are beneficial and acceptable for society. It helps to minimize the risks of new technologies and contributes to sustainability by giving early warnings of critical developments in technology applications.
Environmental Risk Assessment and Management Group (ERAM) of the Technology and Society Lab has the aim to establish the scientific knowledge for a comprehensive and early view of opportunities and risks of applications based on nanotechnology. ERAM carries out research on qualitative risk assessment, quantitative modeling (e.g. exposure and risk modeling), release of nanomaterials from products (e.g. textiles and paints), behavior of materials in the environment (analysis, transformation reactions and interactions with biota) and carries out also prospective technology assessment studies and is engaged in the transfer of scientific knowledge to industry, especially SMEs. ERAM has also a very strong expertise in life cycle assessment (LCA) applied to nanotechnology. ERAM is worldwide leading the modelling of flows of nanomaterials from products to the environment and providing predicted environmental concentrations and environmental risk assessments.
In caLIBRAte EMPA will lead WP3 Environmental risk assessment models