Forschungsprogramm A

A - Design Concepts for Safer Advanced Materials


Advanced materials are seen as drivers of innovation in numerous sectors. The safe and sustainable use of products that contain advanced materials or that emit harmful micro- or nano-sized components during their lifetime is a critical factor for safe application.1,2

The ever increasing complexity of advanced materials necessitates the assessment of the impacts of the materials’ building blocks and their decomposition products on human health and the environment.

We are using a process called Safe-by-Design (sometimes extended to Safe and Sustainable-by-Design). Aspects of safety and functionality are optimized in parallel already during the development process. To do this, we need detailed knowledge of the relevant material properties, the expected life cycle, and the physical, chemical and biological mechanisms that influence the impact on human health and the living and inanimate environment.3

With Safe-by-Design we aim at reducing potentially harmful effects, release into the environemnt or exposure to advanced materials. At the same time, we strive for preserving or even enhancing the application-specific properties.4,5

Case Studies

Case study A1: Cluster tox
Case study A2: Polymer fibre tox

References and previous work

  1. Soeteman-Hernandez LG et al., Safe innovation approach: Towards an agile system for dealing with innovations. Mater Today Commun 20 (2019) 100548.
  2. EU, Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability Towards a Toxic-Free Environment (2020)
  3. OECD, Moving Towards a Safe(r) Innovation Approach (SIA) for More Sustainable Nanomaterials and Nano-enabled Products (2020)
  4. Kraegeloh A et al., Implementation of Safe-by-Design for Nanomaterial Development and Safe Innovation: Why We Need a Comprehensive Approach. Nanomaterials (Basel) 8:4 (2018) 239.
  5. Tavernaro I et al., Safe-by-Design Part II: A Strategy for balancing safety and functionality in the different stages of the innovation process. NanoImpact 24 (2021) 100354.



Involved Partners