NanoScreen- CCMX Materials Challenge


Engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) are a class of nanoscale substances that are purpose-designed with very specific and novel properties. All new technologies are hampered by insecurity concerning their safe implementation. Therefore, industries and regulatory bodies are very dependent on the fundamental understanding of ‘nano-bio interactions’ and the development of reliable and cost-efficient testing strategies to avoid social - as well as economic drawbacks. 


There is a general lack of

  1. understanding how ENM properties influence the adsorption of biomolecules and their effect on cellular reactions,
  2. standardized methods assessing material characteristics as well as biological reactions.

Consequently, a comprehensive assessment of potential side effects of ENMs cannot be made.

On October 1st 2014 the CCMX Materials Challene “NanoScreen” ( was launched. This project is headed by Dr. P. Wick (Empa) and Prof Dr. H. Hofmann (EPFL) and brings together partners form Industry Cetics Healthcare Technologies, Midatech and the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health.


Scope: This Material Challenge brings together expert knowledge in ENM design, production, characterization, in vitro testing and measurement science. This unique combination of expertise allows correlation of the physical and chemical properties of solid inorganic ENMs with their potential side effects towards predictive power. Furthermore, NanoScreen is directly linked with attempts and institutions in the USA (e.g. NIST and Nanotechnology Characterization Lab) Asia e.g. Korean Research Institute of Standards and Science (KRISS) as well as in Europe (European Technology Platform Nanomedicine); all working along the same lines. NanoScreen creates a unique connection point for the Swiss industry, Regulatory bodies and researcher strengthening the collaborative activity in this interdisciplinary field. Moreover, it will increase public confidence in nanotechnology which is an important precondition for commercial success. NanoScreen will allow considerable harmonization of the methodology and thus reduce costs notably as well as cut down the time to bring novel high technology products from the Swiss industry on the market.