Opinion: Time to fund and reward best practice

Contamination control is not seen as an exciting area of scientific invention, but that doesn't mean it is any less important

Susan Birks
Deputy Editor

The impact of new science and technology is radically changing today’s products and the way they are made – from new biological drugs or stem cell therapies through to smaller, faster smarter technologies in the semiconductor and telecommunications field. We expect to enjoy these new inventions at decreasing cost but place ever greater reliance on their performance and safety.

Many of the new scientific developments push the boundaries in terms of contamination control – whether in aseptic or potent handling for medicines or in removing unwanted volatiles in the semicon sector.

Often end users are unaware of the efforts and cost that go into contamination control. And often, because it is seen as the less 'sexy' side of scientific invention, contamination control technology lags in terms of development and funding priorities.

It is refreshing, however, to see funding for new projects underway, such as The European Metrology Research Project: Metrology for Airborne Molecular Contamination – MetAMC that aims to improve the ability to detect minute amounts of AMC.

It is also inspiring to see the developments aimed at improving lab air contaminant monitoring and control. Laboratory ventilation is at last being controlled far more dynamically – based on real time monitoring rather than merely through a number of air changes, set regardless of whether a lab is in use or not.

Such technology needs to be 100% effective and safe but the technology is out there and is being put to good use. The S-Labs Awards is one of the few Industry events that recognises the important efforts and achievements of those running R&D labs to keep them safe, contamination free and at a sustainable cost.

In September, the Awards and Conference in London will showcase some of the best examples, such as the UK's first laboratory ventilation system to modulate air flows in response to sampling of particulates,TVOCs and other parameters. Labs from around the world will also demonstrate their achievements in more effective operation and contamination control.

Companies