Upstream engagement and nano plus some quick bits

Upstream engagement is a term used to describe a type of public engagement/consultation/understanding of science exercise. The idea is that if you inform people (the public mostly) about discoveries and innovations after the fact that they are more likely to reject them. So using the metaphor of a river, it’s easier to affect the flow of the river (public opinion) upstream than it is downstream where it has gotten bigger and more powerful.

The example that’s often used to illustrate the point is biotechnology and, as the thinking goes, the public engagement/consultation/understanding projects were started too late (too far downstream) to have an effect on the panic that occurred. To restate, if people had been better informed and more science literate they would not have panicked as they did.

Since I’ve just written a number of postings explaining my thinking about the use of public engagement/consultation/understanding projects as prophylactic treatments for public panics, I’ll move on to another goal for these projects: information gathering from the public with an intent to collaborate. But I’m doing that in a posting later this week.

It looks like Alberta is about to get $3.3M from the Canadian federal government to look into environmental issues posed by nanotechnology. They are planning to have a panel headquartered in Alberta at the National Institute of Nanotechnology in Edmonton. 13 scientists, five universities, three government departments,  and two national institutes of research will be cooperating on this panel. (I’m not sure what they mean by cooperation as it’s not explained but you can take a look at the article here.) It’s not a done deal yet.

If your dream is to have your nanotechnology writings appear in a nanotechnology encyclopedia, then SAGE Publications has a deal for you. They are looking for authors. For more detail, go to this article here or you can contact Susan Moskowitz, Managing Editor, Author Recruitment, Golson Books Ltd., her email is

1 thought on “Upstream engagement and nano plus some quick bits

  1. Pingback: Comment(s) on proposed Canadian nanotechnology legislation (part 2); Nano Days 2010 update; public engagement and the US National Nanotechnology Initiative « FrogHeart

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *