Leibniz Research Alliance Advanced Materials Safety

Advanced materials – complex functional materials with large application and complex hazard potential

Advanced materials contribute significantly in a wide range of applications, from the generation of green hydrogen, to catalysis, energy storage and biomedicine. As such, they are critical to the development and deployment of important future technologies. Often, however, their contribution goes widely unnoticed.

Advanced materials combine different nano- and/or microscale building blocks into hierarchically structured hybrid materials. The combination of different components and the many possible compositions give rise to a complex hazard potential. The aim of the researchers of the Leibniz Research Alliance Advanced Materials Safety is therefore to investigate the safety of advanced materials throughout their entire life cycle.

Design concepts for functional and safe advanced materials

Using example materials from the fields of energy and biomedicine, guidelines for safe and sustainable advanced materials are created and their effects on human health and environmental organisms are determined. Public perceptions of novel materials will be investigated, which in turn will benefit the researchers themselves for their own communication strategies. The individual projects will be supported by the development of a FAIR-compatible research data infrastructure.

Learn more about our Research Programme

In order to do justice to the complexity of the project, the research network brings together researchers with different areas of expertise: Materials Sciences, Biology and Toxicology, Computer Science, Educational Sciences and Science Communication.

Involved Partner Institutes

Five doctoral students work on five case studies. They benefit from an interdisciplinary research environment with research stays at different institutes of the alliance and a close exchange between the partner institutes. With a framework program of regular events and workshops, the network promotes additional key competencies of the doctoral students, such as the communication of complex research topics and data management.

Learn more about our PhD Programme

What are advanced materials?

Advanced Materials show improved performance compared to “traditional” materials. Examples are intentionally regulated optical or electrical properties that make them attractive in specific applications. Special properties can for instance be obtained by combining nano- and microscale building blocks or by combining molecules of similar or different material classes to obtain complex, tailor-made nanoparticles.

Further reading on advanced materials

[1] Giese B, Drapalik M, Zajicek L, Jepsen D, Reihlen A, Zimmermann T, Advanced materials: Overview of the field and screening criteria for relevance assessment. Umweltbundesamt Juli 2020, Texte 132/2020, ISSN 1862-4804. https://www.umweltbundesamt.de/en/publikationen/advanced-materials-overview-of-the-field-screening

[2] Schwirn K, Völker D, Haase A, Tentschert J,Bernauer U, Packroff R, Bachmann V, Risk Governance of Advanced Materials – Considerations from the joint perspective of the German Higher Federal Authorities BAuA, BfR and UBA. Dezember 2021, Texte 156/2021, ISSN 1862-4804. https://www.umweltbundesamt.de/en/publikationen/risk-governance-of-advanced-materials

[3] 5. Dialogphase: FachDialog 4 Chancen und Risiken von Neuartigen Materialien (11.05.2020), Informationspapiere und Tagungsdokumente: https://www.bmuv.de/download/5-dialogphase-fachdialog-4-chancen-und-risiken-von-neuartigen-materialien/

[4] Advanced materials 2023 manifesto European Commission (7. Februar 2022)

[5] Advanced materials: working description ENV/CBC/MONO(2022)29, OECD (16. Januar 2023)

About the Research Alliance

The research alliance is funded by the Leibniz Association. The alliance started its work in January 2022 and will coordinate and support research on common topics in its first funding period until December 2025.

More on Leibniz Research Alliances

Results of the preceding project Leibniz Research Alliance Nanosafety