I’m a little puzzled by the Nanochannels project (I’ll get to why in a minute). From the Jan. 17, 2011 news item on Nanowerk,
Nanotechnology issues are about to hit the mass media in a big way. The new EC-funded NANOCHANNELS project was launched last week with a two-day kick-off meeting that led to the planning of a dynamic programme of communication, dialogue, and engagement in issues of nanotechnology aimed at European citizens.
NANOCHANNELS has assembled a strong Consortium with partners experienced in mass media, educational methodology and science communication, as well as organisations highly suited and experienced in arranging outreach and communication activities for the public and schools. Following on from its highly successful track record in EC-funded projects, the Institute of Nanotechnology (IoN) has joined the consortium as scientific advisor and member of the editorial board to support the activities of the partners, who include The Guardian, La Stampa and El Mundo national newspapers, Ti Con Uno radio station, ZSI Centre for Social innovation, EUN European School Network, ORT Israel – who are coordinating the project – and Deloitte Israel, who are managing it. [emphases are mine]
I looked up the Institute of Nanotechnology (IoN) to find out that they had issued the news item (news release). From the IoN site,
The project draws and expands on the results of highly successful EC-funded projects, including NanoYou, NanoForum, NanoTV, NanoSciEra, and Time for Nano, and will pioneer outreach and communication activities targeting the general public, with a special focus on stakeholders and young people. To maximise geographic coverage, NANOCHANNELS will take place in at least six EU Member States and Associated Countries, and will be disseminated in five languages.
NANOCHANNELS will also act as a bridge between Framework Programmes 7 and 8. By building on the best practices derived in related FP nanotechnology Coordination and Support Action projects, and consolidating these with the results of NANOCHANNELS, the IoN will lead the partners to provide a series of recommendations to the EC on communicating and engaging with future nanotechnology issues in time for consideration in the drafting of FP8 NMP topics
I got a little curious about the 7th Framework programme (FP 7)’s role and so followed the trail to the European Commission’s webpage for this project description,
Contact Person: ROTHSCHILD Joel
Contact Organisation:ORT ISRAEL
Hatayassim Rd. PO Box 25203
[email line edited out as they have set a link which produces a contact form and fax line edited out as no information provided]
The NANOCHANNELS partners have created a programme of campaigns and events, designed to engage a wide range of stakeholder groups in an open debate of ELSA issues raised by developments in nanotechnology; a vital step to build a public consensus in nanotechnology issues. The project partners are all experienced professionals from a wide range of disciplines, including major European newspapers, leading educationalists and polling specialists. Their combined expertise has enabled an well targeted, effective programme to be prepared. The coordinator and two other partners are leading the successful FP7 NANOYOU project, which aims to inform and engage European youth in NT issues. This experience has been the starting point for the NANOCHANNELS project. The campaign and events programme designed by the partners will use a range of media tools selected to reach a wide range of different stakeholder groups. Traditional media, including press and radio, and youth-oriented, web-based tools will be combined with live events to engage the lay public, scientists, NGOs, educators and other stakeholders. A series of debates will take place in schools throughout the EU, and a high-profile round table will be held. A unique feature of the programme will be the inclusion of school students in producing much of the media content. They will be mentored by professional journalists who will produce the balance of the material to ensure suitability for all stakeholders. Throughout the project, a series of surveys and polls will take place. Changes in opinion that take place after the campaign will be recorded. This data will be compiled and used to assess public attitudes, and determine the emerging public consensus. At the end of the project, a report will be issued to the Commission which will provide recommendations for: ‘creating a process to facilitate better governance of NT issues ‘a future education policy ‘EU action plan for nano technology and action plans…
Project Acronym: NANOCHANNELS
Project Reference: 266946
Start Date: 2011-01-01
Duration: 18 months
Project Cost: 894940.00 euro
Contract Type: Coordination (or networking) actions
End Date: 2012-06-30
Project Status: Execution
Project Funding: 797982.00 euro
The thing that struck me as odd is that Israel is not a member of the European Union. It seems unusual to assign the organizational aspects of this project to a state that is not a member. Does anyone know if this is a standard practice?
I have two more thoughts on the matter. (a) This project seems to have a predetermined outcome, i.e., consensus. I assume this consensus will be favourable to the inclusion of more nanotechnology-enabled products and applications. (b) I am much heartened to see that they will be integrating a substantive percentage of content from students.