Environmental Science: Nano – looking towards the future

Peter J. Vikesland abc
aDepartment of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia, USA. E-mail: pvikes@vt.edu
bVirginia Tech Institute of Critical Technology and Applied Science (ICTAS) Sustainable Nanotechnology Center (VTSuN), Blacksburg, Virginia, USA
cCenter for the Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology (CEINT), Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, USA

Only four short years ago, Vicki Grassian wrote an editorial announcing the journal Environmental Science: Nano and describing it as “A new journal with a large scope that focuses on small materials”. Over the course of these past four years it is clear that the journal has filled a need within the nanoscience community and has become the place for cutting edge contributions that address the benefits as well as the implications of nanoscience and nanotechnology on environmental health and environmental safety, the sustainable design of nanomaterials, and the application of nanomaterials for sustainability. Vicki, the Associate Editors, and the Editorial and Advisory Boards have truly positioned Environmental Science: Nano as the pre-eminent platform for environmentally focused and environmentally relevant nanotechnology. As we begin 2018, I, along with the other members of the Editorial and Advisory Boards, have the privilege of building upon the formidable foundation that Vicki has helped establish.

It is truly an honor for me to be named the second Editor-in-Chief of Environmental Science: Nano. I am excited to have the opportunity to work with our outstanding group of Associate Editors, our Editorial Board, our Advisory Board, and all of the wonderful people at the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) who manage the day to day operation of Environmental Science: Nano and its sister journals Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts and Environmental Science: Water Research & Technology. These three journals collectively provide an important venue that showcases high quality environmental science and engineering research.

As I step into this role, I have been thinking about the next stages in the development of Environmental Science: Nano and I am struck by the speed at which the nanotechnology landscape has changed substantially over the short lifetime of the journal. Such change is clearly reflected in the types of articles that the journal has published. Comparing the articles published in 2017 versus those in 2014 it is clear that both the systems as well as the types of nanomaterials that are being studied are generally increasing in complexity. Such trends reflect both our communities ever-improving understanding of nanomaterials and nanomaterial properties as well as the changes in funding that have occurred as the environmental nanotechnology field has matured.

Environmental Science: Nano has always been comprehensive in its scope and as such we will continue to publish papers describing the development of ecologically sustainable nanotechnologies, the environmental implications and applications of nanotechnology, and of course papers that explore fundamental environmentally relevant nanoscale chemical, biological, and physical phenomena. In addition, however, we want to keep expanding into the developing areas at the critical interfaces between nanotechnology, energy, water, food, and health. There are many complex global challenges that the world must address in the 21st century and I am a firm believer that nanotechnology can and should be an important means of addressing these challenges. However, we must do so while fully considering all of the societal, economic, and environmental implications and ramifications of potential solutions. Environmental Science: Nano will provide a home for forward thinking papers that not only consider the environmental applications of new nano-enabled technologies, but also the societal, economic, and environmental implications of those technologies. By supporting a holistic approach, we hope to help ensure that nanotechnology develops in as sustainable a manner as possible.

To keep moving the journal forward we have expanded our Editorial Board with the additions of Jerome Rose (CEREGE, Aix-en-Provence, France), Zhang Lin (South China University of Technology, China), and Nathalie Tufenkji (McGill University, Canada). They join an already strong Editorial Board that consists of myself, four Associate Editors (Greg Lowry, Carnegie Mellon, USA; Iseult Lynch, University of Birmingham, UK; Kristin Schirmer, Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, Eawag, Switzerland; and Wei-Guo Song, Institute of Chemistry CAS, China), member Frank von der Kammer (University of Vienna, Austria) and the team in the RSC Editorial Office in Cambridge, UK. As I welcome new members to the team, I also want to acknowledge the efforts of those who have recently completed their service to the journal. In addition to Vicki, I thank our former Editorial Board members Christy Haynes (University of Minnesota, USA), Mike Hochella (Virginia Tech, USA), Bob Hamers (University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA), and Barbara Karn (Sustainable Nanotechnology Organization, USA). All four of them were charter members of the Environmental Science: Nano Editorial Board and their contributions have greatly strengthened the journal.

In closing, let me sincerely thank all of our authors and our peer reviewers. Our journal would not be where it is without the papers that you submit and the efforts made by our reviewers to ensure their ultimate quality. I wish you all an intellectually and socially stimulating 2018!


Peter Vikesland

Professor, Virginia Tech

Editor-in-Chief, Environmental Science: Nano

This journal is © The Royal Society of Chemistry 2018