Collaborative Research: Workshop on the Anticipatory Governance of Complex Engineered Nanomateriais

Project: Research project

Project Details


This proposal describes a plan to investigate the anticipatory governance of complex engineered nanomatierials (CENMs), including advanced generation nanosystems. The plan includes a brief meeting of the project's executive committee, the commissioning and review a set of background papers, and a focal workshop to vet the background papers and discuss continuing research strategies. The need for such a workshop arises from the following observations: Progress in nanoscale science and engineering research may be organized into four stages (Roco, ubiquitous) - passive nanostructures, active nanostructures, systems of nanosystems, and molecular nanosystems. Borrowing language from the forthcom ing National Research Council report, we define the latter three generations as CENMs. Research on CENMs has already commenced (Subramanian et al. 2010). The governance challenges of CENMs may differ significantly from those of first generation, passive nanostructures (Renn and Roco 2006) . Regulatory agencies in the United States are already challenged by the governance of passive nanostructures (Beaudrle 2010; Bosso 2010), even as the research agenda on the environmental governance of nanotechnology follows nanomaterials currently important in commerce, e.g., silver, titanium, and carbon. If society is to best prepare for emerging technologies, it must not rely solely on a reactionary mode but must engage in anticipatory governance (Guston 2008). To begin pursuing the anticipatory governance of CENMs, we propose to hold an invitation-only workshop of principals from academia, government, and the private sector (both for-profit and not-forprofit) at the Washington, DC offices of Arizona State University in spring 2013. This workshop will be preceded by a meeting of the project's executive committee at the University of Notre Dame in early autumn, 2012. The workshops will be a joint effort of the Centers for Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology, the Centers for Nanotechnology in Society, the Center for Nano Science and Technology at the University of Notre Dame, and other relevant groups. The executive committee comprising representatives from these groups will commission and review a small set of background papers that will be fully vetted at the larger workshop. We anticipate that breakout groups within the larger workshop will also develop elements of a research strategy for the anticipatory governance of CENMs that will serve as the core of the workshop report.
Effective start/end date7/1/126/30/16


  • National Science Foundation (NSF): $34,250.00


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