ICON - International Council on Nanotechnology: A partnership for nanotechnology stewardship and sustainability


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ICON - International Council on Nanotechnology

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ICON - International Council on Nanotechnology
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Working Groups
Knowledge Base
Best Practices

Working Groups
The Working Groups have decision-making authority as well as operational responsibilities. In particular, ICON project funding requests can only be developed through the Working Groups where members, participants and advisors work on project objectives, scopes and outcomes.  ICON Working Groups permit volunteer members to direct their time and resources towards achieving the strategic objectives of ICON.   These groups set specific action items and tasks in each Strategic Plan, and measure their progress against these plans on a monthly basis.  ICON Working Groups are also charged with developing ICON project plans for consideration by ICON’s Steering Committee. 

Planning/Governance Team
This working group was created to address the objective within ICON to provide a multi-stakeholder, international and neutral forum for exploring health and environmental issues. To accomplish this objective, the group has developed strategic tasks in the following areas:

  • Provide direction to planning of meetings/workshops of the organization that focus attention on priority EHS issues    (ICON Ireland Workshop meeting)
  • Review and maintain a recruiting plan to achieve a balance of participation among and within the various stakeholder groups of the organization
  • Maintain a governance structure and operational plan for the organization, including definition of member/participant levels within organization    (Governance document) 
  • Establish boundaries to be used in developing Policy Statements from ICON

This Working Group worked at a strategic level - operational detail arising from group strategic guidance is handled by ICON staff.

Knowledge Base Team
This working group has been created to develop and maintain a globally recognized, credible knowledge base in nanotechnology that is readily accessible to the public. To accomplish this objective, the group has developed strategic tasks to provide the following knowledge base offerings:

  • A searchable database of peer-reviewed technical articles focused on EHS issues for nanotechnology which is continuously updated   (EHS Database)
  • A set of Frequently Asked Questions on various topics of EHS interest within nanotechnology that are answered by experts in field   (FAQ page) 
  • A roadmap which identifies critical EHS research needs
  • Integrated linkages to other database offerings that expand accessible information to planned research programs, as well as nanoparticle characterization information    (complementary databases) 

Best Practices Team
This working group has been created to facilitate and develop activities producing or using information in support of nanotechnology health and environmental risk assessment and management. To accomplish this objective, the group has developed strategic tasks to provide the information for the following priority areas:

  • Risk assessment methodologies for nanomaterials and nano-enabled products – convene a workshop to review current approaches to risk assessment, evaluate their applicability to nanotechnology, and provide recommendations to develop nano-specific risk assessment methodologies in a published report
  • Standards development related to environmental and health risks –   develop an organizational position on support of National and International standards development efforts
  • Best practices for green nanotechnology – Develop and publish a set of best practice guidelines that can be used to guide the development of environmentally preferred nano-based products and manufacturing processes

This working group was created to develop a proactive communications platform to publicize ICON’s efforts and translate complex scientific concepts into materials easily understood by a broad cross-section of stakeholders. To accomplish this objective, the group has developed the following strategic tasks:

  • Enhance ICON’s public portal so that key communication topics for ICON are readily accessible and understandable to all interested stakeholders
  • Develop and maintain an information monitoring program that identifies key announcements and reports/papers that ICON should respond to
  • Establish protocols and program for implementing and maintaining a media alert service and an expert referral service
  • Create and maintain an ICON document library and standardize its representation in print and other media
  • Support recruitment and membership efforts for ICON by creating promotional materials and publicity plans that identify ICON’s mission clearly

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This work is supported in part by the Nanoscale Science and Engineering Initiative of the National Science Foundation
under NSF Award Number EEC-0118007.

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