Tag Archives: NHECD

Europe’s open access nanotoxicology database: old news?

An Oct. 7, 2013 news item on Nanowerk announces the launch of an open-access database for nanotoxicology materials,

The rise of potential health hazards has given rise to a new discipline — nanotoxicity — the study of toxicity as a result of nanomaterials. Work undertaken by the project ‘Nano health-environment commented database’ (NHECD) has culminated in a completely open-access database that incorporates a mechanism for updating the knowledge repository.

A major factor taken into account by NHECD was that the users come from many different groups including the press, research institutions and governmental bodies. Not only does the NHECD database hold unstructured data like scientific papers, it also allows for automatic updating. The database can thus hold a dynamic developing collection of published data on environmental and health effects after exposure to nanoparticles.

The NHECD database homepage offers more information about itself,

What is NHECD and what can be found here?

NHECD is a free access, robust and sustainable web based information system including a knowledge repository on the impact of nanoparticles on health, safety and the environment. It includes a robust content management system (CMS) as its backbone, to hold unstructured data (e.g., scientific papers and other relevant publications). …

 Discover Our Intelligent Search

Our intelligent search is a unique method to target the information you need. This search feature is especially crafted for the needs of researchers in the nanoscience field. This feature includes among other capabilities the power to search by model, experiment and nanoparticles attributes. …

I did try a couple of searches ‘silver nanoparticles’ and ‘carbon nanotubes’ to no avail.

This project puts me in mind of the GoodNanoGuide, which has somewhat similar aspirations,

The mission of the GoodNanoGuide is to provide an Internet-based collaboration platform specially designed to enhance the ability of experts to exchange ideas on how best to handle nanomaterials in an occupational setting. It is meant to be an interactive forum that fills the need for up-to-date information about current good practices for managing nanomaterials in a work-related environment, highlighting new practices as they develop.

The goal of the GoodNanoGuide is to create a central repository for good practices for safely handling nanomaterials that can be used and contributed to by people from all over the world.

In fact, I noted this similarity in a July 13, 2009 posting titled: Good Nano Guide and the UK’s NHECD project complementary? plus the Finnish, the Canadians, nanotechnology and innovation. I don’t understand why the NHECD is being publicized at this point in time as the website does not seem to be fully populated (blank webpages) and as I noted I had difficulty running a search.

Good Nano Guide and the UK’s NHECD project complementary? plus the Finnish, the Canadians, nanotechnology and innovation

About a week and a half ago, I came across an announcement about a new nanoparticle toxicity project that’s being undertaken in the UK. The Nano health-environment commented database (NHECD) has had Euro 1.45 million allocated by the EU. From the announcement on the Azonano website,

The ultimate objective of NHECD is to develop an open access, robust and sustainable system that can meet the challenge of automatically maintaining a rich and up-to-date scientific research repository. This repository would enable a comprehensive analysis of published data on health and environment effects following exposure to nanoparticles, according to the project partners. The repository would also be harmonised to be compatible with existing databases at the metadata level.

It strikes me that this database project, which is in its very early stages, could be a very complementary to some of the work being done on the Good Nano Guide wiki (still in beta) which is being supported by the International Council on Nanotechnology (ICON). I commented on my experience with the Good Nano Guide in my  Friday, July 10, 2009 posting.

Rob Annan on the Don’t leave Canada behind researcher forum posted a provocative commentary about Canada’s innovation gap on July 7, 2009 last week. The commentary was occasioned by an article in the Globe & Mail’s Report on Business (ROB) by Konrad Yakabuski here. The ROB (not to be confused with Annan) article, makes an excellent point about the importance of instability for stimulating innovation. From the ROB article,

The expression “necessity is the mother of invention” comes to mind. Though Finland’s history is full of rude awakenings, as it alternately succumbed to Swedish and Russian invaders in previous centuries, the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 was its biggest economic setback. The breakup of Finland’s biggest trading partner sparked a near depression in the nation of 5.3 million. Economic output shrank 13 per cent over three years and unemployment rose to 20 per cent from 3 per cent.

The crisis prompted much collective soul-searching, enabling the government to rally Finns behind the idea that the country’s revival lay in innovation. Government spending on R&D grew rapidly, even as overall public expenditures were slashed.

No company epitomized the transformation of the Finnish economy more than Nokia. The company (which takes its name from the river where its founders built a pulp mill in 1865) nearly went bankrupt in 1991. Its conglomerate strategy – making everything from telephone cables to car tires to TV sets, and selling them to consumers in the Nordic and Soviet-bloc countries – no longer proved viable. Backed by massive government research funding, Nokia dropped its other businesses to focus exclusively on making wireless communications devices, just as the global cellphone industry was poised to explode.

Today, Finland spends 3.5 per cent of its GDP on R&D, compared with less than 2 per cent in Canada. In 2008, Nokia alone invested €6-billion ($9.8-billion) in R&D, or 12 per cent of its sales, including €2.3-billion in research and development spending at NSN, the unit that is buying Nortel’s key LTE assets and technology.

For a little more information about Canada’s R & D spending, you can check out my June 9, 2009 blog posting here. There’s more to the Finnish miracle (I did a little digging) which I will post about tomorrow. I’ll also be including some specifics about the nanotechnology situation both in Finland and in Canada.