This paper reviews efforts of the Center for Nanotechnology in Society at Arizona State University (CNS-ASU) to begin to build capacity for public engagement with science in the United States. First, the paper sets a context in the US of the current challenges to democracy and for science. It then reviews the literature on the accomplishments of the National Citizens' Technology Forum (NCTF) on nanotechnology and human enhancement, held in 2008, as well as some caveats that emerged from that enterprise. It concludes with a brief discussion of two kinds of activities - participation in the World Wide Views process organized by the Danish Board of Technology, and methodological innovations that include more concrete and experiential modes of engagement - that have spun off from the NCTF.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-59
Number of pages7
JournalPublic Understanding of Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014



  • consensus conferences
  • governance of science and technology
  • nanotechnology
  • participation in science policy
  • public participation
  • technology assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

Cite this