Empa is a materials science and technology research institution. It belongs to the ETH domain and as such is an important element in education, science and innovation in Switzerland. It specializes in applications, focused research and development, and provides high-level services in the field of sustainable materials science and technology. Its core tasks are innovative collaboration with industry and public institutions, ensuring the safety of people and the environment, knowledge propagation and university-level teaching.
The Technology and Society Lab (TSL) is an interdisciplinary research unit of Empa that studies opportunities and risks of emerging technologies. A team of 30 researchers is active in the fields of information and communication technologies, converging technologies, nanoscale technologies, renewable energy and resource management. The Environmental Risk Assessment and Management Group (ERAM), lead by Bernd Nowack, is one of the teams of TSL and has the aim to establish the scientific knowledge for a comprehensive and early assessment of the opportunities and risks of new materials and technologies for the environment. ERAM carries out research on qualitative risk assessment, quantitative modeling (e.g. exposure modeling), release of materials from products, and behavior and effects of materials in the environment (analytics, fate and interactions with biota).