In the course of a couple of European research projects, we worked on a series 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 FRAMINGNANO involved the development of a governance plan for nano technologies. 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 nanotechnologicallyenabled products and, in the course of doing this, evaluated a number of different approaches to deliberation.
This research 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 wellinformed research and policy agendas which guide and promote the responsible development of nanotechnology.
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