, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 39–54 | Cite as

Decision Support for International Agreements Regulating Nanomaterials

  • Ineke MalschEmail author
  • Martin Mullins
  • Elena Semenzin
  • Alex Zabeo
  • Danail Hristozov
  • Antonio Marcomini
Original Paper


Nanomaterials are handled in global value chains for many different products, albeit not always recognisable as nanoproducts. The global market for nanomaterials faces an uncertain future, as the international dialogue on regulating nanomaterials is still ongoing and risk assessment data are being collected. At the same time, regulators and civil society organisations complain about a lack of transparency about the presence of nanomaterials on the market. In the project on Sustainable Nanotechnologies (SUN, ), a Decision Support System (SUNDS) has been developed, primarily for confidential use by risk and sustainability managers inside a company or consortium. In this article, we formulate a scenario concerning a potential role for an open access decision support system in negotiations on international agreements regulating trade in nanomaterials. The scenario includes design rules for decision support systems as well as procedures for use of such a system in stakeholder dialogue and policy-making on governance of these and other emerging technologies. This article incorporates analysis of results of stakeholder engagement on nanomaterials as well as literature and internet sources suggested by these stakeholders.


Nanomaterials Decision support Sustainable development Nanosafety Global governance 



We gratefully acknowledge the contributions of the participants during the stakeholder workshop analysed here, and constructive comments by three anonymous reviewers.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflicts of Interest

The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Union Seventh Framework Programme [FP7/2007–2013] under EC-GA No. 604305 ‘SUN’. This publication reflects the views only of the authors, and the European Commission cannot be held responsible for any use, which may be made of the information contained therein.

Human Participants and/or Animals, and Informed Consent

The research has not involved animals. The participants in the workshop have been asked to give their informed consent to publication of results in anonymised form, and have been given the chance to comment on the draft summary report in the annex before publication.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Malsch TechnoValuationUtrechtThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of Accounting and Finance, Kemmy Business SchoolUniversity of LimerickLimerickIreland
  3. 3.Department of Environmental Sciences, Informatics and StatisticsCa’ Foscari University of VeniceMestre-VeneziaItaly

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