Research is essential for the further development and implementation of Safe-by-Design. This includes research into such matters as risk assessment and policy instruments to stimulate and put Safe-by-Design into practice. We also want to talk to researchers about the safety aspects associated with their own research and how to deal with them properly. The aim is to enable researchers more easily to fulfil their social responsibility.

Goals and activities
The government's objective is to make Safe-by-Design robust and second nature for researchers and product developers. This will allow researchers (at universities and in business) to fulfil their social responsibility and their role in safety aspects associated with their research.

A few things still need to happen before we reach that point. Practical knowledge is required in order to put Safe-by-Design into practice in the various fields. There is also a need for supporting resources, methods and tools to promote Safe-by-Design. We want to develop all of this together with researchers.

Nanotechnology example
Recent exploratory studies into Safe-by-Design for nanomaterials have revealed that more technical and scientific knowledge is required to assess safety at an early stage of product design. That is why the Netherlands is playing an active role in European initiatives concerning nanomaterials and Safe-by-Design. The initiatives include the development of testing and measurement methods for (eco)toxicological research, exposure measurements and the characterisation of nanomaterials in order to detect and prevent risks at an early stage.

Benefits of Safe-by-Design for researchers
Researchers who pursue Safe-by-Design are among the frontrunners in the field of innovation, risk policy and safety. They are multidisciplinary and benefit from the exchange of knowledge and experience of responsible innovation - among themselves, with companies and with the authorities, nationally and internationally. They contribute to functionally and scientifically inspiring developments, while at the same time assessing and mitigating risks for human health and the environment. They develop and use the latest test methods and strategies. This gives them a set of research tools and a mindset that allows them to respond swiftly to the latest national and international research programmes.

In the coming years, we will be working with research institutions and companies on a research agenda for Safe-by-Design in ways including collaboration agendas and research programmes. At international level, we will also explore how Safe-by-Design can be implemented going forward by means of research programmes.

Additionally, we want to investigate new forms of collaboration between researchers and policymakers. Sharing knowledge and methods, experiences and new insights will create an opportunity to learn how the government can stimulate Safe-by-Design.

Come on board!
Are you an environmentally aware researcher who would like to contribute to a safe and healthy living environment? Do you want to brainstorm with us about research programmes and forms of collaboration? Sign up now!