Materials with dimensions on the nanoscale (approximately 1 nm to 100 nm) have structure, properties, and interactions that can be quite different from macroscopic materials. Participants agreed that a discipline-independent descriptive system was needed for many purposes, including informed interaction among interested stakeholders.
It was recognised that ICSU is uniquely positioned to bring a broad scientific perspective to this issue.
The workshop defined principles for guiding the development of a robust description system. These included the need for a well defined governance system for a project open to international collaboration, incentives and mechanisms to enable contributions by researchers in many disciplines, and inclusion of the needs of ‘user’ groups, such as engineers, public authorities and the general public.
It was decided to develop a pre-normative project as soon as possible to determine more thoroughly the requirements for a description system. Such a project could be led by CODATA on behalf of ICSU.