There’s a new report from DEEPEN (Deepening ethical engagement and participation in emerging nanotechnologies) from an EU (European Union) funded group. From the news item on Azonano,
DEEPEN received EUR 894,000 in funding from the ‘Science and society’ budget line of the EU’s Sixth Framework Programme (FP6). The three-year project brought together experts in ethics and philosophy and the social and political sciences from Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal and the UK.
According to the report, one major problem is the persistent belief that ‘scientists do science, while society and ethicists deal with any ethical or social implications’. This reflects the assumption that the benefits of nanotechnology need to be pushed, and ethics is a ‘brake on progress’, the project partners argue.
They go on to suggest, amongst other things, that surveys of public opinion need to be rethought as complex attitudes and opinions on emerging technologies such as nanotechnology cannot be captured in a tick box. If you want to look at the project materials, you can go here. I took a look at the video clip and will be taking a look at the report soon (I hope).
Another European (specifically UK) project I mentioned a few months ago is an online public engagement exercise, originally focused on garnering opinions from academics, researchers, and business, which has been expanded (as originally) planned to include the general public. If you want to look at their materials and discussions, go here. The data gathering ends Oct. 31, 2009 and presumably a report will be produced. This is a project for the UK Dept. for Business Innovation and Skills.
Meanwhile, the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies (PEN) has released data about a survey on US public opinions towards nanotechnology and synthetic biology. From the news item on Nanowerk,
Nanotechnology and synthetic biology continue to develop as two of the most exciting areas of scientific discovery, but research has shown that the public is almost completely unaware of the science and its applications. A groundbreaking poll of 1,001 U.S. adults conducted by Peter D. Hart Research Associates and the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies (PEN) found 90 percent of Americans think that the public should be better informed about the development of cutting-edge technologies.
There will be a live webcast of the results and panel discussion this morning (9:30 am PST). If you want to click through to the live webcast, you can find the link in yesterday’s posting. More tomorrow after I’ve seen the webcast.