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D2.1 Current RRI in Nano Landscape Report

Consists of a report that provides up-to-date information on how the EU and a selection of Member States deal with nanotechnologies from policy, research and societal engagement perspectives, as well as the levels of awareness and engagement of stakeholders (scientists/researchers, industry, journalists, policymakers and NGOs/CSOs) with RRI. Additionally, the report identifies and presents an overview of selected national and international dialogue activities conducted with respect to responsible research and innovation and nanotechnologies.

Toolkit for Ethical Reflection and Communication, by ObservatoryNano

The ethical debate on nanotechnology is large and tangled. It is often unclear what the right questions in this debate are, nor whether these questions are specific to nanotechnology in comparison with other emerging technologies. This Toolkit for ethical reflection and communication does not claim to provide a definitive picture of all options in the ethical debate on nanotechnology. Its aim is more modest: we wish to provide the reader with means to frame his own vision of the debate and to sharpen ethical awareness of the parties involved in the development of nanosciences and nanotechnologies. We hope that this will foster the dialogue between philosophy, science, industry, and society. The toolkit does not replace academic research on the subject†. It is our firm conviction that those who think about nanosciences and nanotechnologies are better equipped to do so with a notion of philosophical ethics. This is because the views elaborated over centuries can enable the construction of an argument to respond to new problems and because philosophical reflection itself will suggest new lines of questioning.

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Just a Cog in the Machine? The Individual Responsibility of Researchers in Nanotechnology is a Duty to Collectivize

Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) provides a framework for judging the ethical qualities of innovation processes, however guidance for researchers on how to implement such practices is limited. Exploring RRI in the context of nanotechnology, this paper examines how the dispersed and interdisciplinary nature of the nanotechnology field somewhat hampers the abilities of individual researchers to control the innovation process. The ad-hoc nature of the field of nanotechnology, with its fluid boundaries and elusive membership, has thus far failed to establish a strong collective agent, such as a professional organization, through which researchers could collectively steer technological development in light of social and environmental needs. In this case, individual researchers cannot innovate responsibly purely by themselves, but there is also no structural framework to ensure that responsible development of nanotechnologies takes place. We argue that, in such a case, individual researchers have a duty to collectivize. In short, researchers in situations where it is challenging for individual agents to achieve the goals of RRI are compelled to develop organizations to facilitate RRI. In this paper we establish and discuss the criteria under which individual researchers have this duty to collectivize.

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Reconfiguring Responsibility, Deepening Debate on Nanotechnology

We need to open up the politics of responsible development. Nanotechnology is currently a focus for much excitement and anxiety, and the notion of ‘responsible development’, with its emphasis on safe and beneficial innovation, lies at the heart of current thinking on its governance. But what does responsible development mean in practice? And how can the development of new technologies be infused with the values of democracy and public participation? This report argues that, if responsible development is to succeed in opening up public debate on nanotechnology, it needs to be substantially rethought.

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Public hysteria about technology - where’s the evidence?

It’s a widely held view that the public is anti-technology. Attitudes are often described as ‘hysterical’, ’irrational’ and ‘emotional’. This week the media reports the European Science Chief, Anne Glover as saying antipathy to GM ‘a form of madness’! Some policy makers, scientists and business people have suggested that the public’s fear of technology is holding back science, slowing innovation, preventing technologies from reaching their potential. But what if that’s not true? What if an incorrect perception of public views of technology is leading policy makers and businesses to make erroneous judgements about innovation pathways? What if they themselves are negatively affecting the development of specific technologies and applications in response to a public attitude that isn’t the reality for the vast majority of people and in anticipation of a backlash that looks unlikely to materialise?

There will always be disagreement about policy directions, it is the nature of a democracy, it happens in every area of life, and will never go away. But as Ann Glover says on BBC Radio 4 programme The Life Scientific her job is to provide evidence on science to help policy makers. It appears to me that policy makers should consider and respond to the evidence on public attitudes to contentious areas of science more carefully, rather than rely on their perceptions of what the public thinks to shape their approach.

This brief paper explores why the evidence points to the public having a much more thoughtful and nuanced view of technology than is generally perceived and begins to explore how research and innovation can be better aligned with public’s values, views and behaviours.

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Towards a sustainable and responsible development of Nanotechnologies

Nanotechologies are one of the most important technological innovation of the 21st century and could improve the quality of our life. Materia can be manipulated at the nanoscale thanks to its own physical and chemical properties at this level, and the potential applications are considered endless. The development of nanotechnologies deals with material science, medicine, renewable energy, electronics and communication, cosmetics and chemical, construction and may have a great impact on a wide range of industries through the creation of new jobs, the change of citizens’ way of life and the contribution to economic growth. However, nanotechnologies and manufactured nanomaterials are not completely safe. The production and use of these revolutionary innovations could release free engineered nanoparticles on environment with many risks for humans and animals. People don’t know exactly what nanotechnologies are and what could be the risks for their health. Institutions, scientists and industries must reply to many questions and issues linked to these technologies in order to achieve a sustainable and responsible development of Nanotechnologies.

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Technology Sector Evaluation: Health, Medicine & Nanobio, by ObservatoryNano

Nanotechnology has found applications in many industries. Nanomedicine has grown as a discipline in itself and the development of novel structures and advances in nanomaterials is fuelling growth and innovation in the area. The potential of nanotechnology in medicine has been recognised, and a significant amount of funding has been provided to the sector. The number of conferences taking place around the globe on nanotechnology in medicine is an indicator of the interest and potential offered by nanoscience and nanotechnology. The Cancer Nanotechnology Plan by the National Cancer Institute in US and the European Technology Platform Nanomedicine have set out plans for the future research activities needed in the area. A roadmap project which sets out the timeframe for nanomedicine applications has been supported by the European Commission (EC). Several other projects relating to nanomedicine have been funded by the EC 6th and 7th Framework programmes. Many national and pan-European networks also exist, with the aim of bringing together stakeholders to discuss and share information. Nanomednet in the UK, Nanoned in Netherlands, the Spanish nanomedicine platform, CC-NanoBioTech in Germany, and the European Foundation for Clinical Nanomedicine (CLINAM) are examples of such networks which aim to bridge the gap between different groups including scientists, industry, clinicians, investors and policy makers.

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Ethical and Societal Aspects of Nanotechnology Enabled ICT and Security Technologies, by ObservatoryNano

In this report, public debates and literature on ethical and societal aspects of nanotechnology in ICT and security, and civil‐military dual use aspects of nanotechnology are discussed. The main aim is to identify new or persistent issues in these debates that merit the attention of policy makers responsible for nanotechnology in Europe. Another aim is to raise awareness of these issues among the partners in the ObservatoryNano project responsible for reports on technical and economic trends in two of the ten technology sectors covered by the ObservatoryNano: ICT and security.

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A new integrated approach to the responsible development of nanotechnologies, by Framing Nano

This document is the final report of the FramingNano FP7 research project and contains the final proposal of the FramingNano Governance Platform which has been elaborated and refined during the project.

This report includes inputs and comments on the draft Governance Platform gathered during a restricted Expert Workshop and an International Conference, as well as additional detailed background information on the project methodology. The principal basis for the proposed Governance Platform derives from a two-stage Delphi consultation among interested nanotechnology stakeholders, the outcomes of a dialogue of a multi-stakeholder workshop. The conclusions and recommendations in this document represent the result of the entire research of the FramingNano project and the opinion of the FramingNano project consortium.

In the opening chapter of this report (“The FramingNano Governance Platform”) the proposal for a Governance Platform is presented, which was the objective of the FramingNano project. In the following two chapters, “Outlining the Problem of Nano Governance” and “Stakeholder Opinions on Nano Governance”, some of the research results which have been gained throughout the project on nanotechnology governance are reported in detail.

Download the report here.

The Nano2All project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme, under the Grant Agreement Number 685931.
This website reflects only the author's view and the Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.

 

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