Navigation Links
NSF renews Centers for Nanotechnology in Society

The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently renewed two important cooperative agreements totaling more than $12.5 million over five years. These awards leverage previous investments for studying the ethical, legal, economic and policy implications of the relatively new, nature-altering science called nanotechnology.

The Center for Nanotechnology in Society at Arizona State University received $6,507,000 million over a five year renewal, while the Center for Nanotechnology in Society at University of California, Santa Barbara received $6,076,000 million for the same time period.

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.

As part of the National Nanotechnology Initiative, which identifies "responsible development" as one of four strategic goals for nanotechnology research, NSF committed to investigating the societal aspects of this promising but uncertain technology. "These centers play a pivotal role in understanding and anticipating the potential societal impacts of nanotechnology and engaging multiple stakeholders in discussions about the future of emerging technologies," said Myron Gutmann, NSF assistant director of Social Behavioral and Economic Sciences. "They are truly interdisciplinary centers, spanning the social, natural and engineering sciences."

NSF-supported research at the Center for Nanotechnology in Society at ASU (CNS-ASU) will use "real-time technology assessment (RTTA)," a social science tool that relies on understanding the social, moral, political and economic dynamics of nanotechnologies, to develop a strategic vision for their "anticipatory governance."

"The biggest question for the center," said David Guston, director of CNS-ASU and political science professor, "is how far anticipatory governance can take us, not only in guiding societal research but in assuring the responsible development of nanotechnologies."

The center's research, involving collaborations among ASU, Georgia Institute of Technology, and the University of Wisconsin, is conducted in clusters that logically organize research findings. RTTA clusters include: research and innovation systems assessment; public opinion and values; anticipation and deliberation; and reflexivity and integration. A second set of clusters for thematic research include equity, equality and responsibility and, beginning with the renewal, urban design, materials, and the built environment or "nano and the city."

"It is particularly important," Guston said, "to locate nanotechnologies in the city because cities are home to most of humanity and are also focal points of complex systems for energy, water, transportation, etc., that will be sites for nanotechnological innovation." Assessing how nanotechnologies may or may not contribute to the sustainability of these systems in an urban context is the primary goal of this new program. Under the renewal, the center will also pursue formal and informal educational opportunities and build new capacities among a broad array of stakeholders and the public.

ASU's sister center at UC Santa Barbara will pool together interdisciplinary research to produce new knowledge about the challenges to successful development of nanotechnologies in North America, Europe, Asia and other regions.

"The nano enterprise is a rapidly expanding," said center director Barbara Herr Harthorn, an anthropologist and associate professor of feminist studies at UC Santa Barbara. "It is a highly distributed global phenomenon with the potential for broad social and economic implications."

Dubbed CNS-UCSB, the center has an evolving international research infrastructure used to create a community of diverse participants who share their knowledge for the simultaneous benefit of both society and technology. Under the award renewal, CNS-UCSB will use this infrastructure to conduct collaborative research on both approaches to achieve and barriers that prevent socially and environmentally sustainable and socially equitable nanotechnologies.

The center also will provide interdisciplinary educational opportunities for a new generation of social science, humanities and nanoscience professionals via graduate fellowships and research assistantships, along with undergraduate summer research internships for regional community college students and UCSB undergrads.

"The CNS at UCSB has developed novel educational programs that provide scientists-in-training hands-on experience," said Harthorn. "Our goal is to generate knowledge useful for NSF, the National Nanotechnology Initiative, policymakers, and the public."

She said the challenge at CNS-UCSB is to systematically study, both in its contemporary and historical contexts, the dynamic system of technological production associated with nanotechnology, while at the same time probing aspects that are vital to fulfilling its promises of socially responsible development.

The awards are scheduled to expire in August 2015.


Contact: Bobbie Mixon
National Science Foundation

Related biology technology :

1. GeneGo Renews Its Agreement With Bayer Schering Pharma AG for Another Three Years
2. Cryo-Cell Renews Upromise Industry-Exclusive Agreement
3. China Biologics Production Facility Renews GMP Certification
4. ReGear Life Sciences Partners with Life Care Centers of America
5. OnychoLase Laser Nail Centers Making a Global Impact, By Bringing Western Medicine To The East
6. The MedZilla Report for October 2009 - Health Care Employment Grows Again in October Even As Clinics, Specialty Centers Close
7. MRI & X-Ray Outsourcing Increasing From Hospitals and Imaging Centers Worldwide
8. Childrens Hospital in Colorado Rounds off List of 24 Cord Blood Transplant Centers Worldwide Enrolling for ExCell Trial Studying StemEx(R) for Leukemia and Lymphoma
9. Dr M Group Selects Health Robotics Technology Over RIVA for all of its I.V. Compounding Centers in South East Asia
10. Vita-Tech International, Inc. Donates One Ton of Vitamins To Polio Treatment Centers in Guinea, West Africa
11. New Jersey Surgery Centers Pick Health Informatics Consulting to Implement Patient Electronic Health Record Systems
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/23/2016)... /PRNewswire/ - FACIT has announced the creation of ... company, Propellon Therapeutics Inc. ("Propellon" or "the Company"), ... portfolio of first-in-class WDR5 inhibitors for the treatment ... represent an exciting class of therapies, possessing the ... cancer patients. Substantial advances have been achieved with ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016  The Biodesign Challenge (BDC), a university competition ... harness living systems and biotechnology, announced its winning teams ... New York City . The ... projects at MoMA,s Celeste Bartos Theater during the daylong ... senior curator of architecture and design, and Suzanne ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Ky. , June 23, 2016 ... two Phase 1 clinical trials of its complement ... placebo-controlled, single and multiple ascending dose studies designed ... pharmacodynamics (PD) of subcutaneous injection in healthy adult ... subcutaneously (SC) either as a single dose (ranging ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Regulatory Compliance Associates® Inc. (RCA), ... free webinar on Performing Quality Investigations: Getting to Root Cause. ... no charge. , Incomplete investigations are still a major concern to the Regulatory ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:5/12/2016)... 12, 2016 , a brand ... overview results from the Q1 wave of its quarterly ... was consumers, receptivity to a program where they would ... health insurance company. "We were surprised to ... Michael LaColla , CEO of Troubadour Research, "primarily ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... India , April 28, 2016 ... Infosys (NYSE: INFY ), and Samsung SDS, a ... that will provide end customers with a more secure, ... services.      (Logo: ) , ... services, but it also plays a fundamental part in enabling ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... Research and Markets has announced ... 2016-2020"  report to their offering.  , ,     (Logo: ... analysts forecast the global multimodal biometrics market to ... period 2016-2020.  Multimodal biometrics is being ... the healthcare, BFSI, transportation, automotive, and government for ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):