Here’s another nanotechnology debate in Europe—this one is different according to the organizer, Dr. Robert Doubleday, Head of Research at the Centre for Science and Policy at the University of Cambridge (from the University of Cambridge March 23, 2012 news release),
There have been a number of public dialogues about nanotechnology in recent years, but what makes this online debate different is its ambition to lead directly to new research. It aims to address gaps in knowledge about the use of nanotechnologies in society.
“This dialogue is not about reaching any conclusions; it’s about generating questions, which highlight the areas that need to be looked at in more detail,” said Dr Doubleday. “What we hope will come out of it is a series of concrete research questions that we will actively follow up.”
The March 28, 2012 news item on Nanowerk has a description of PERARES, the project which includes these debates as part of its larger policy mandate,
The nanotechnology Knowledge Debate is part of PERARES (Public Engagement with Research and Research Engagement with Society), a project funded by the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme. PERARES consists of a network of universities and research organisations across Europe committed to carrying out research in response to questions raised by civil society organisations and the wider public. The PERARES Knowledge Debate provides a means of discovering what potential consumers and citizens think about nanotechnology and addressing any issues that arise.
There’s a description of the PERARES debates and links to the debates on the PERARES – Transnational Online Debate page at Living Knowledge where you can also find information on how to participate (there doesn’t seem to be a requirement regarding nationality, i.e. it appears that anyone from anywhere is free to participate),
An introduction to a series of debates arising from innovations of new nanotechnologies
What are your views on the potential for bioelectricity production from waste water using microbial fuel cells? Microbial Fuel Cells (MFCs) are literally the use of microbes as fuel ‘batteries’, through ‘bio-nanotechnology’ processes.
How can advances in liposomal research change cancer diagnosis and treatment?
The development of nano-enabled devices in healthcare and Ambient Intelligence
A current development in healthcare is to move from hospital care to home care (care-at-a-distance). Promises of Ambient Intelligence can contribute to the realization of this future vision of healthcare, namely the realization of: “an environment that is aware of our presence and responsive to [...]
Nano-sized materials have new, useful properties. However, whether their use is better for the environment than their alternatives, can only be assessed in an Environmental Life Cycle Analysis. We welcome any (requests for) case studies on this!
Nanotechnologies have a wide range of potential food applications. Possibilities range from enhancing the flavour, texture and nutritional quality of processed foods, to the use of sensors to monitor food safety. However, there are significant questions about how risks should be assessed and regulated; how nano ingredients should be labelled; how open the food industry should be about its development of nanomaterials; and the role of public dialogue about whether these promised benefits are needed and the relative value of alternative approaches.
I checked out the ‘nano and food’ debate and found the comments (although a little sparse in number given the topic) quite illuminating.
Tags: European Community, Knowledge Debate, PERARES, PERARES Knowledge Debate, PERARES Knowledge Debate: Ambient Intelligence and Healthcare, PERARES Knowledge Debate: Cancer Nanotechnology, PERARES Knowledge Debate: Food nanotechnology and labelling, PERARES Knowledge Debate: Renewable Energy and Nanotechnology, PERARES Knowlege Debate: Environmental Life Cycle Analysis of Applications of Nano-Particles, Public Engagement with Research and Research Engagement with Society, Robert Doubleday, Seventh Framework Programme, UK, University of Cambridge