The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded $6.5 million to the Center for Nanotechnology in Society at Arizona State University (CNS-ASU) to continue its work regarding the societal aspects of nanotechnology for another five years. CNS-ASU was founded in 2005 when NSF made its first five-year award of $6.2 million to Arizona State University to create the center. These awards are part of NSF's initiative to support research and education on nanotechnology and social change, as well as educational and public outreach activities, and international collaborations.
In 2001, the federal government established the National Nanotechnology Initiative, which identifies "responsible development" as one of four strategic goals for nanotechnology research. This award to CNS-ASU reflects NSF's commitment to investigating the societal aspects of this promising but uncertain technology.
"As technology moves forward into the nano sphere and across thousands of applications, we need new tools to help guide decision making to ensure the best and highest net impact of use," said ASU president Michael M. Crow. "CNS will focus on this critical set of complex questions and will provide a new level of systems thinking with regard to these future technologies and their use."
Nanotechnology allows controlling matter on an atomic and molecular scale. Societal benefits of using the science to create new materials, devices for medicine, electronics and energy production could be transformative. But creating such things through molecular manipulation raises not only health and safety risks but ethical and legal questions as well.
In their first five years, CNS-ASU researchers have worked side by side with scientists, engineers, social scientists, scholars and decision makers to combine research, training and engagement to develop a new approach to governing emerging nanotechnologies. They have developed new knowledge and tools to increase t
|Contact: Cathy Arnold|
Arizona State University