InteRnatIonal ecosystem for accelerating the transition to Safe-and-Sustainable-by-design materials, products and processes

The IRISS project aims to connect, synergise and transform the Safe-and-Sustainable-by-Design (SSbD) community in Europe and globally towards a life cycle thinking with holistic integration of safety, climate neutrality, circularity and functionality of materials, products and processes throughout their life cycle. The project was launched in June 2022 and will run for three years until May 2025.


The goals of IRISS are to:

  1. Develop a state-of-the-art SSbD ecosystem that supports the uptake and utilisation of SSbD strategies by industry, especially SMEs;
  2. Contribute to criteria and guiding principles for SSbD driven by the application of lifecycle thinking in materials and product design and in line with ongoing work in European and international initiatives;
  3. Establish a structure for a permanent, gender-balanced, inclusive, international and sustainable expert network accessible to all relevant stakeholders;
  4. Develop SSbD roadmaps in a co-creation and inclusive process for the implementation of SSbD in industry and society, including prioritised steps within research, innovation, skill demands, management and governance;
  5. Develop a monitoring and evaluation (M&E) programme that systematically scans for state-of-the-art knowledge and information gaps and translates these into specific R&D questions and governance needs that feed into systematic roadmap updates


The IRISS consortium consists of 17 core partners and several network partners that represent the top components needed to build an EU European Union (European Union)-led permanent network, which is self-sustaining and international in scope. The components represented are Policy (RIVM, Swedish Environmental Research InstituteIVL, the European Chemical Industry CouncilCefic), Applied Research & Innovation (IVL, Tekniker, BioNanoNet, Swiss Federal Laboratories for Material Science and Technology, EMPA), Industry (Cefic) and Research and Education Univerisity of Birmingham (UoB) and University LüneburgLEUPHANA). The core partners are already active in relevant SSbD projects (e.g. OECDSUNSHINE, SAbyNA, SABYDOMA).

IRISS has industry and Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) value chain network partners, including ETP (textiles), EFCC (construction), CLEPA (automotive), EMIRI (energy), INL (electronics) and IPC (packaging), with additional value chains to be included.

EuMaT and SusChem Regional national technology platforms  (also network partners) ensure the provision of policy, applied science, industry and innovation linkage throughout the EU and beyond, including SMEs and wider society, not least by leveraging the value chain network partners, APRE and the internationally oriented ISC3.

A key strength is the inclusion of top-level nanosafety representatives via the Univerisity of Birmingham, BioNanoNet and RIVM.

Associated Partners include the following SPINE (Safe-by-design Policy International Network), TEKO, Gov4Nano, AMPT Network, Materplat, SAbyNA, NanoInformaTIX, CHARISMA, SusNanoFab, NanoHarmony, NanoSolveIT, RiskGone, HARMLESS, NanoFabNet, PATROLS, EuPC, ECP4, IUMRS &EMRS, WBCSD, AISE, FEMS, Know-Center GmbH, ESTEP, EFCE, SUNSHINE, NanoMET, NanoRigo, SbD4Nano, NanoCommons, ITC, Eureka Network, Perstorp AB, EEB, and SMR. IRISS envisages interaction with the Partnership on the assessment of risks of chemicals (PARC) to ensure cross-fertilisation and boost SSbD uptake.

All these collaborations are essential for establishing an active EU-led SSbD International permanent network.

RIVM role

RIVM has a leading role in Work Package 3 :

  • To formulate and establish a broadly supported and periodically updated SSbD Roadmap to support and promote the implementation and operationalisation of SSbD principles and tools in value chains encompassing research needs, skills and education development, and governance needs;
  • To develop guiding principles & best practices to operationalise SSbD in materials, products & processes;
  • To focus on new materials, products and processes, but seek synergies with initiatives on SSbD for chemicals; and
  • To develop a governance model for the EU led SSbD International Network, including a monitoring & evaluation programme and ecosystem that meets the urgency and needs required for the operationalisation and implementation of SSbD in a force field that requires preparedness, resilience and co-creation.

RIVM  will also provide active contributions in all Work Packages including the development of value-chain specific roadmaps and the development of an EU-led SSbD International network. .

RIVM colleagues involved: Lya Hernandez, Adrienne Sips, Flemming Cassee, Cornelle Noorlander, Hedwig Braakhuis, and Leo Posthuma. 


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe Research and Innovation Programme under grant agreement No.  101058245