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Understanding Public Debate on Nanotechnologies

Published by DG Research Science, Economy and Society, this report analyses the possible "Options for Framing Public Policy"

This publication consists of a series of research articles on the nature of public debate on nanosciences and nanotechnologies, and the ways in which deliberative approaches could lead to better governance of these technologies. The authors of these articles were involved (as coordinators or participants) in a number of now completed European Commission-funded ‘Science in Society’ projects.

Of these, the project FRAMING NANO involved the development of a governance plan for nanotechnologies. NANOCAP was a capacity building exercise, through which European Trade Unions and Environmental NGOs adopted resolutions and positions on the governance of nanotechnologies. The DEEPEN project elaborated the ethics of nanotechnologies and investigated the narratives which underlie public discourse, while NANOPLAT proposed a new deliberative platform for consumers of nanotechnologically-enabled products and, in the course of doing this, evaluated a number of different approaches to deliberation.

This research was developed in response to the Science in Society Programme of Work strategy, which calls for a deliberative approach to responsible development of nanosciences and nanotechnologies. Such an approach implies an inclusive governance of nanotechnologies – one based on broad stakeholder involvement and early public intervention in research and development, and ultimately leading to well-informed research and policy agendas which guide and promote the responsible development of nanotechnology.

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