An online debate about nanotechnologies
Innovation of new nanotechnologies has been a priority for countries across Europe, and the European Union itself. Nanotechnologies aim to harness advances in science that make it possible to engineer matter down to the nanometre – that is a billionth of a metre. This means, for example, that materials can be designed on the same scale as the width of a strand of DNA.
Many materials behave differently at the nano-scale. They may be more reactive, they may have different electronic properties, and some will react differently with living organisms. This ‘nano’ behaviour can be harnessed to create new technologies across a wide range of application areas. And yet, with this great promise comes a series of important questions. What purposes are these technologies designed to achieve, and who gets to decide? What risks might they pose to human health and the environment, and how are these risks regulated? How will unintended side effects be monitored and dealt with?
You set the questions
In this series of online debates we invite a wide range of views on five different application areas of nanotechnology. Our approach is that we need to think through the issues raised by nanotechnology in relation to concrete examples, which you will find in the introduction to each of the five debates. We have a clear and simple goal. To arrive at key questions that can be researched by members of the PERARES consortium. We make you a commitment to follow up the questions that emerge through this dialogue, and we will communicate back to you what the research finds.
Contributing to the responsible development of nanotechnologies
PERARES partners believe that if wider civil society has more of a say in setting research questions, then innovation is more likely to develop in ways that are responsive to societies’ needs. That’s our vision. Please take part and help us to promote research that directly addresses your hopes, concerns, and curiosity.