Research projects


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The Green Deal sets up ambitious roadmaps for increasing EU sovereignty while promoting safer and more sustainable approaches.The SSbD framework published by JRC and adopted by the Commission proposes an approach to evaluate the safety, environmental,and socio/economic dimensions of molecules, materials and processes. The applicability of this framework is currently being tested under different typologies of products and maturity levels. PLANETS, an innovation action funded by the EU under the HORIZON Resilience 01-24 call, will demonstrate the applicability of the framework while technically developing alternatives for 3 of the most importantclasses of molecules in chemical industries (plasticizers, flame retardants and surfactants) at TRL 6 and their incorporation into broadlyavailable consumer goods at TRL7. The new molecules and products will be significantly safer to workers and consumers and will have considerably lower environmentalimpact, while ensuring economic viability and social awareness throughout the 3 value chains. PLANETS‘ consortium brings together 18 complementary partners from 7 countries, including 7 large companies and 4 SMEs, covering the 3 complete value chains, 4 RTO and the 3 non-profit organizations.These actors bring the expertise required for all the project development:
– Development of safer and more sustainable alternatives through SSbD assessments in a tiered approach.
– Demonstration of the integration of the new molecules for the manufacturing of new products for various applications (coating,insulation foams and childcare articles).
– Social and humanities sciences.- Business plans and market uptake approaches.
– Digital Product Passport.- Identification of new skills and training.
– Interactions with appropriate stakeholders and citizens and feedback to JRC and the EC.
PLANETS‚ ambitions are to strongly contribute to pave the road for the adoption of SSbD framework while proposing a roadmaptowards industrialisation and market uptake of the alternative solutions.

  • PLANETS – Plasticizers, fLame-retardants, and surfactANts: new alternatives validating the safE-and-susTainable-by-deSign approach

The  PINK project, a research and innovation action funded by the EU under the HORIZON Resilience 01-23 call, combines computational models and a decision support system (DSS) that exploit the combined power of first-principles simulation and pre-existing data, which – in itself – is further improved by advanced artificial intelligence (AI) technology; this provides PINK with the capability to significantly decrease the time needed for SSbD Advanced Materials & Chemicals development. However, this requires the integration of tools from different and (hitherto) partly independently developed areas. PINK provides this integration in the form of an open innovation platform, the PINK In Silico Hub (PINKISH) based on an advanced Interoperability Framework, giving access to all information and knowledge, and executing SSbD workflows customisable to (a) the application area of the Advanced Materials & Chemicals, (b) their safety and sustainability concerns of the existing materials, and (c) the status ofthe relevant development project (from early design ideas to registration and market entry).

The unique properties of nanomaterials (NMs), relative to their bulk form, has seen them used in a rapidly increasing number of commercial applications. However, with these useful new properties of NMs come potential health and environmental hazards. Thus, as part of a responsible innovation approach, NMs potential risks must be assessed in parallel to exploitation of their benefits. Due to their enormous variability, NM risk assessment urgently needs advanced in silico methodologies capable of machine learning from limited experimental datasets. These in silico tools for NMs characterisation, exposure, hazard and risk assessment and sustainability and life cycle assessment, need to support implementation of existing regulatory guidelines and extend regulatory risk assessment to integrate the extensive new knowledge generated computationally. The EU H2020 MSCA RISE project  CompSafeNano’s overarching objective is thus to drive the development of integrated and universally applicable nanoinformatics models, with broad domains of applicability across NMs compositions and forms, that are directly usable by industry, especially SMEs, and regulators for NMs risk assessment and decision making. CompSafeNano will establish an extended safe-by-design paradigm that includes environmental sustainability (life cycle assessment) based on in silico predictions with experimental testing to validate the results. CompSafeNano has a clear set of objectives to deliver this vision of an in silico safe-by-design computational platform and will be in close communication with other EU projects to access existing data on NM hazard and integrate existing nanoinformatics and NMs risk governance platforms. Training activities will benefit both ESRs and ERs from participating organizations, with a strong focus on inter-sectoral exchange (SME-academia) and international collaboration, filling the well-recognised current skills gap in nanoinformatics and big data analytics.

„SmartCERIALS – Smart CERIum dioxide-based nanocomposites for AntimicrobiaL Surface applications“ is a collaborative research project of the Bio-Nano Group at PLUS, the Phornano Holding GmbH, Korneuburg (4n), Austria, and the Shenzhen Institute of Advanced Technology (SIAT) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) that AIMs at the green development of novel nanocomposite raw materials for smart surface coatings by additive synthesis of different nanomaterials allowing for the combination of different desired functionalities. These combined functionalities comprise (i) superior anti-microbial properties that can be (ii) monitored for microbial binding and deactivation and (iii) contain a long-term tracing feature for coating stability. 

„NanoProCoV – Nanoformulations protecting against SARS-CoV-2 infection“ is a scientific & technological cooperation programme of the Bio-Nano Group at PLUS with the Shenzhen Institute of Advanced Technology (SIAT) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), funded by the Austrian BMBWF and the Chinese MOST, for establishing cooperative research based on mobility of researchers and developing online training in nanomedicine with the aim to combat viral infection of the respiratory system.

  • NanoProCoV – Nanoformulations protecting against SARS-CoV-2 infection

Nanotechnology-enabled products with enhanced functions and durability have entered the international markets. These products extend to skincare, electronics, textiles, sports equipment, and to applications in diagnostics and therapeutics. The rapid growth of nanotechnology economy has, upon significant funding by the European Commission, been accompanied by research in nanosafety assessment having resulted in the establishment of risk governance procedures and safe-by-design strategies. In the upcoming framework program termed Horizon Europe (2021-2027) this safety-related knowledge will be transferred to aid sustainable innovation, combat emerging contaminants of ecological concern, and tackle environmental challenges such as micro- and nanoplastics. Specific sources of emerging contaminants of ecological concern are nanomaterials-derived particulates, sanitizers and active pharmaceutical ingredients leaching into the environment. While the risk assessment of such substances in their individual state is rather straight forward and obligation of the producers, the one of mixture effects is much more complex and the resulting risk vs. revenue estimation basically remains with societal stakeholders including regulators or community authorities. The Austrian partner, the Bio-Nano Group at Paris Lodron University of Salzburg (PLUS) has built up a strong track record in nanosafety assessment focusing on human health, while the South African partner group at the University of Pretoria (UP) focuses on environmental aspects of emerging contaminants including nanomaterials. The “africa uninet” project PUSH will thus form a nucleation for future synergistic research and teaching for both partners.

  • The PLUS-UP European-African university network for Sustainable innovation and Health – PUSH

NanoCommons is a EU Research Infrastructure Activity to promote data FAIRness in nanosciences. The initiative, furthermore, serves the scientific community by means of consultancy and services providing e-tools for:
– design and implementation of experimental workflows
– data processing and analysis
– data visualization and predictive models
– data storage and metadata completeness
…to improve scientific quality assurance in the field of nanosafety assessment. NanoCommons offers as part of its  Knowledge Infrastructure, a  Knowledge Base and a Data Warehouse. The PLUS partner is responsible for education & training activities.

The EU NanoSafety Cluster Working Group A (WG-A) focuses on cross-linking all currently active projects in the EU NanoSafety Cluster. In addition, WG-A endeavors to align all training offers in nanosafety projects and beyond. This effort shall be including the research fields of microplastics’, advanced/innovative materials’, or nanomedicines’ safety assessment. Joint educational strategies are developed with representatives from the currently ongoing projects. The main activity to facilitate this essential and fruitful cross-talk between the people that are actively involved in the work of the projects is executed by informative webinars and virtual training sessions.

Nan-O-Style is an interdisciplinary research project, which investigates interactions between nanomaterials (NMs) in consumer products with substances from daily life with a special focus on modern lifestyle products (MLPs) used by adolescents.

In order to perform clinical studies with candidate recombinant allergens the physicochemical properties of these molecules have to be determined according to high-quality standards. As the allergy research group is well-endowed with high-end analytical instruments we aim to improve the existing and develop new bioanalytical tools for allergen standardization.

Understanding the mechanisms of systemic drug hypersensitivity also involves studying drug metabolism and methods of organochemical synthesis and bioconjugation. In the immunological context drugs are usually referred to as haptens eliciting adverse reaction solely upon covalent binding to carrier molecules. Solid diagnosis of drug allergy (skin testing) is thus often eluded by the lack of IgE receptor crosslinking capability of small molecules unless coupled to high molecular weight carriers. We therefore establish methods of preparing and analyzing drug-carrier conjugates also taking into account the possible immunological importance of metabolic drug intermediates.

Project overview

Principle Investigator

2025-2028PLANETS – Plasticizers, fLame-retardants and surfactANts: new alternatives validating the safE and susTainable by deSign approach, EU HORIZON Resilience-01-24, grant no 101177608
2024-2027PINK – Provision of Integrated Computational Approaches for Addressing New Markets Goals for the Introduction of Safe-and-Sustainable-by-Design Chemicals and Materials, EC HORIZON Resilience-01-23, grant no 101137809
2024-2026CompSafeNano – NanoInformatics Approaches for Safe-by-Design of NanoMaterials, EU H2020, grant no 101008099
2023TyreWear2Food – BMVIT, FFG, FO999905045
2022-2025SmartCERIALS – Smart CERIum dioxide-based nanocomposites for AntimicrobiaL Surface applications, BMK, FFG, grant no 890610
2022-2024NanoProCoV – Nanoformulations protecting against SARS-CoV-2 infection, WTZ, BMBWF, OeAD, CN 06/2021
2021-2024PUSH – The PLUS-UP European-African university network for Sustainable innovation and Health, BMBWF, OeAD, P023_South Africa
2020-2022Biological Standardization Programme – BSP163, Conseil de l’Europe & European Directorate for Quality of Medicine & Healthcare (EDQM)
2019-2022NanoCommons – The European Nanotechnology Community Informatics Platform: Bridging data and disciplinary gaps for industry and regulators, EU H2020, grant no 731032,
2019Nan-O-Style FeMED, BMVIT, FFG, grant no 874754
2018FeMINT physics and bioeffects, BMVIT, FFG, grant no 870755
2017-2019Nan-O-Style, Nanotechnology ↔ Modern Lifestyle, Sparkling Science, BMWFW, P144200_25
2006-2013Development of bioanalytical tools for standardization of allergen products, Biomay, BIO062004
2010-2012Bioanalysis of allergen extracts and allergoids, Diater, P144250_9
2011-2012 Bioanalysis of monomeric allergoids, Lofarma, P144250_9
2006-2011 Mechanism of drug-induced hypersensitivity against NSAIDs, FWF P18820-B13
2010Patterns of exposure and mechanisms of sensitization in allergic asthma caused by tropical mites, FFG grant no 2108908, P144250_6
2010Managing Th1 and Th2 immune responses for cancer immunotherapy, Boehringer-Ingelheim Fonds, P144250_10
2009-2010 Comparative bioanalysis of allergen extracts, Lofarma, P144250_9
2009Molecule-based diagnosis of allergy and related diseases caused by mites, FFG grant no 823964, P144250_6
2007-2009Biological Standardization Programme – BSP090, Conseil de l’Europe & European Directorate for Quality of Medicine & Healthcare (EDQM)
2006-2008 Bioanalysis of allergen extracts and allergoids, Leti, BIO062004

Project participation

2022-2023 EndoNano – Qualitative detection of bacterial endotoxin by novel nanotechnological approaches, EU H2020 MSCA EID, grant no 812661
2019-2023NANORIGO “NANOtechnology RIsk GOvernance“. EU H2020, grant no 814530,
2018NanoCommons „The European Nanotechnology Community Informatics Platform: Bridging data and disciplinary gaps for industry and regulators“. EU H2020, grant no 731032,
2016-2021ICA – Immunity in Cancer and Allergy, International PhD Program, FWF, W01213,
2016-2019PANDORA – Probing safety of nano-objects by defining immune responses of environmental organisms, EU H2020, grant no 671881,
2016-2019EC4SafeNano – European Centre for Risk Management and Safe Innovation in Nanomaterials Nanotechnologies, EU H2020, grant no 723623,
2014-2017HUMUNITY – Cell-Based Models of Human Mucosal Immunity with Multiple Commercial Applications, EU FP7, grant no 316383,
2013-2015ALRAUNE – Allergieforschung in ruralen, alpinen und urbanen Netzen, BMWFW, OeAD, Sparkling Science
2012-2016Regulation of activation-induced deaminase by lysine modifications, FWF, P24619
2012-2015NanoTOES – Nanotechnology Training of Experts in Safety, EU FP7, grant no 264506
2012-2015NanoValid – Developing reference methods for nanomaterials, EU FP7, grant no 263147
2012-2015NanoEIS – Nanotechnology Education for Industry and Society, EU FP7, grant no 319054