This paper presents the outcomes from a workshop of the European Network on the Health and Environmental Impact of Nanomaterials (NanoImpactNet). During the workshop, 45 experts in the field of safety assessment of engineered nanomaterials addressed the need to systematically study sets of engineered nanomaterials with specific metrics to generate a data set which would allow the establishment of dose-response relations. The group concluded that international cooperation and worldwide standardization of terminology, reference materials and protocols are needed to make progress in establishing lists of essential metrics. High quality data necessitates the development of harmonized study approaches and adequate reporting of data. Priority metrics can only be based on well-characterized dose-response relations derived from the systematic study of the bio-kinetics and bio-interactions of nanomaterials at both organism and (sub)-cellular levels. In addition, increased effort is needed to develop and validate analytical methods to determine these metrics in a complex matrix.