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the Netherlands and Portugal - while talk of 'responsible development' is a step in the right direction, it often hides outdated assumptions: "Technologies are being driven forward with insufficient reflection on why they are being developed and on what this is likely to mean for future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:6/23/2016)... Calif. , June 23, 2016  The Prostate Cancer Foundation ... increasingly precise treatments and faster cures for prostate cancer. Members of the Class ... across 15 countries. Read More About the Class of ... ... ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... In a new case report ... detail how a patient who developed lymphedema after being treated for breast cancer benefitted ... change the paradigm for dealing with this debilitating, frequent side effect of cancer treatment. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... ClinCapture, the only free ... and will showcase its product’s latest features from June 26 to June 30, ... poster on Disrupting Clinical Trials in The Cloud during the conference. DIA ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... SAN DIEGO , June 22, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... partnership that will allow them to produce up ... (HiPSC) from one lot within one week. These ... their time laboriously preparing cells and spend more ... made possible through a proprietary, high-volume manufacturing process ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:5/12/2016)... , May 12, 2016 WearablesResearch.com , ... published the overview results from the Q1 wave of ... recent wave was consumers, receptivity to a program where ... with a health insurance company. "We were ... share," says Michael LaColla , CEO of Troubadour ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... and BANGALORE, India , April 28, ... Systems, a product subsidiary of Infosys (NYSE: INFY ... announced a global partnership that will provide end ... use mobile banking and payment services.      (Logo: ... key innovation area for financial services, but it also plays ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... , April 27, 2016 ... "Global Multi-modal Biometrics Market 2016-2020"  report to their ... , The analysts forecast the global ... of 15.49% during the period 2016-2020.  ... of sectors such as the healthcare, BFSI, transportation, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):