HARTL Sonja BioNanoNet Research Association

Integration of Responsible Research and Innovation to Support Dialogue on Nanotechnologies in EU Civil Society!

Co-authors BROEKHUIZEN Pieter V., SCHUURBIERS Daan, FALK Andreas

Introduction of new technologies is generally accompanied by large uncertainties in regard of benefits and new risks. The same holds for nanotechnologies that are developing rapidly within almost all existing technologies. The public perception on nanotechnologies has been diminishing over the past years. Regarding society-relevant solutions and applications close to the consumer, it is evident that the public discussion on nanotechnologies lacks vision and inspiration. Stakeholder engagement and dialogue are essential to the responsible development of nanotechnologies in Europe. The FP7 project NanoDiode integrates vital engagement activities along the innovation value chain: at the level of research policy, research & development (R&D), and the diffusion of nanotechnology innovations in society. The project combines ‘upstream’ public engagement (by way of dialogues that integrate societal needs, ideas and expectations into the policy debate) with ‘midstream’ engagement (by organising innovation workshops at the level of the R&D practices that are at the heart of the research and innovation enterprise) and ‘downstream’ strategies for communication, outreach, education and training. Dialogue workshops bring together lay Europeans and the European nano-community to discuss nanotechnologies’ contribution in addressing important societal challenges. The aim is to draft recommendations for preferred innovation areas, with respect to ethical, social and environmental questions.