Navigation Links
Public must be involved in nanotech policy debate demands groundbreaking
Date:9/25/2009

Decision-making on science especially emerging technologies such as nanotechnology must become more democratic, a new report on science policy released today argues. The group of leading European academics behind the 'Reconfiguring Responsibility' report argue forcefully that current governance activities are limiting public debate and may repeat mistakes made in managing GM.

The DEEPEN report comes in the wake of a move within UK and European science policy-making to govern 'upstream' in a technology's development, before its impacts become irreversible, and to involve the public in decision-making. Analysing this move in the context of nanotechnology, the 'Reconfiguring Responsibility' report argues that these developments do not go nearly far enough. According to Professor Phil Macnaghten - who is based at Durham University and who has led the EU-funded project involving researchers from the UK, Germany, the Netherlands and Portugal - while talk of 'responsible development' is a step in the right direction, it often hides outdated assumptions: "Technologies are being driven forward with insufficient reflection on why they are being developed and on what this is likely to mean for future society. The public is keen to be involved in deliberating the often far-reaching questions that science is addressing, and policymakers need to find new ways to ensure that public views are heard, treated with respect and used to inform science policy."

Professor Richard Jones FRS, a leading nanoscientist who until recently was the senior advisor for nanotechnology for the UK government's science funding agency, agrees. "I believe that involving the public in decision making on science can lead to better outcomes as well as being fascinating and rewarding for the scientists involved. If we are to continue to make nanotechnology a more socially responsible science we need to build on research such as that discussed in the 'Reconfiguring Responsibility' report."

The need for action is made more pressing by the fact that nanotechnology has the potential to fundamentally change everyday life and thus raises profound social and ethical questions. Attention has recently focussed on the uncertainties surrounding its long-term effects on human health and the environment, but the 'Reconfiguring Responsibility' study indicates that public concern also focus on the kind of society being created by such technologies. "It's great that there is a move towards public dialogue and more responsible development of new technologies," continues Macnaghten, "but at the moment this move doesn't go far enough. In the case of nanotechnology we find public hunger to be included in shaping the technology's development. However, policy processes don't yet fully take this into account. We'd like to see the terms of the debate being shaken up."

As with the GM debate, the research has found that most non-scientists accept that a degree of risk is inevitable, but are concerned about the motivations driving technology. Indeed, many people question whether the vaunted benefits of nanotechnology in everything from defence to cosmetics to communications technology will in practice be beneficial at all.

The report gives a number of recommendations to policy makers involved in governing nanotechnology and similar technologies, including the need to be innovative in finding ways to involve the public and to move away from policy making that simply reacts to new findings or applications. "We want our analysis to be helpful to those at the cutting edge of decision making in science," says Macnaghten, "while at the same time not shying away from the fact that this presents a challenge to the way that things are being done."


'/>"/>

Contact: Richard Hayhurst
rhayhurst@schwartz-pr.co.uk
44-771-182-1527
Durham University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology technology :

1. Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. Announces Public Follow-on Offering of 3,000,000 Shares of Common Stock
2. Public attitudes to new technology: Lessons for regulators
3. Omeros Commences Initial Public Offering of Common Stock
4. Rigel Announces Pricing of Public Offering of 13,000,000 Shares of Common Stock
5. OrbusNeichs Genous(TM) Bio-engineered R stent(TM) is Feasible in Patients Requiring Undeferrable Non-Cardiac Surgery, International Journal of Cardiology Publication Reports
6. Greenway Medical Technologies Plays Leading Role in Interoperability Demonstrations at Seventh Annual Public Health Information Network (PHIN) Conference
7. Vasogen and IntelliPharmaCeutics to Combine to Create Publicly-traded Specialty Pharmaceutical Company
8. Accera Announces Peer-Reviewed Publication of the Results of its 90-Day Clinical Study of AC-1202 (Axona(TM) ) in Mild to Moderate Alzheimers Disease
9. Cumberland Pharmaceuticals Announces Pricing of Its Initial Public Offering of Common Stock
10. Micromet Closes $80.5 Million Public Offering of Common Stock
11. Human Genome Sciences Announces Closing of Public Offering
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/23/2017)... ... March 23, 2017 , ... Lajollacooks4u is proud to announce it has become the ... corporate cooking challenges for companies around the world, such as Illumina, HP and Qualcomm, and ... reason for its increasing popularity is due to its new team building format, a way ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... MILFORD, Mass. , March 23, 2017 ... leading partner to global in vitro diagnostics ... launch of the industry,s first multiplexed ... inherited disease testing by next-generation sequencing ... materials were developed with input from industry ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... ... March 23, 2017 , ... Ellen ... the Connecticut Technology Council (CTC) as a 2017 Women of Innovation® finalist. Matloff ... of Innovation Awards Dinner. , The dinner recognizes women accomplished in science, technology, ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... , March 23, 2017 According to a ... and derivatives market is fragmented due to the presence of a large ... Proliant, Thermo Fisher , and Sigma-Aldrich, compete with each other ... companies, collectively, held more than 76% of this market in 2016.  ... As of now, ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:3/2/2017)... Australia , March 2, 2017 Australian ... Ltd (ASX: CYP), has signed an agreement with ... from the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute and Department of ... to conduct a further preclinical study to support the ... treatment of asthma.  Asthma is a ...
(Date:2/27/2017)... 27, 2017   Strategic Cyber Ventures , the ... led a $3.5 million investment in  Polarity , the ... Ventures is DC based and is led by cybersecurity ... . Ron Gula , also a longtime cybersecurity ... in this series A round of funding. This new ...
(Date:2/21/2017)... -- Der weltweite Biobanking-Sektor wird bis zum ... mit mehr als 50 Vertretern aus verschiedenen Branchen wurde aber ... diese Prognose zu realisieren. ... Zu den Schwierigkeiten für ... für die Biobank, die Implementierung Zeit sparender Technologien, ein ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):