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Posted: June 4, 2009

Nanotechnology compared: International workshop on the governance of new technologies

(Nanowerk News) Nanotechnologies take top priority in many research strategies at national and international level. The pull-through of ideas to the market has, however, not yet met the expectations invested into the so called technology of the 21st century. Nevertheless there are around 800 nanotechnology applications available in consumer products. The complexity of the enabling technology again challenges traditional ways of risk governance.
Therefore, it is an exciting question how nanotechnology is dealt with politically which will be analysed at the international workshop Nanotechnology Governance Compared. It aims at casting diverse perspectives at the phenomenon of "nanotechnology."
The workshop will bring together top scholars and students working on political, social, philosophical and cultural aspect of science and technologies as well as researchers from nanotechnology and the life sciences. Participants are among others Herbert Gottweis and Ulrike Felt (both University of Vienna), Sheila Jasanoff (Harvard University) and Brian Wynne (Lancaster University).
Nuclear GMO Nano?
The first major theme of the workshop will be the comparison of nanotechnology governance with the governance of other technologies connected with risk. Current approaches towards nanotechnology are embedded in the history of risk technology governance in fields such as genetic engineering and nuclear power. The workshop will explore to which extent parallels can drawn between nanotechnology and other technologies, and what is peculiar to nanotechnology governance.
Multilevel Governance
The second major theme of the workshop is devoted to the interplay between global and local levels of nanotechnology governance. Does nanotechnology governance differ between regions? "We are especially interested in the relationship between trends towards governance uniformity and variation caused by factors such as culture, institutions and historical experience", says Prof. Herbert Gottweis of the LSG-Research Platform.
Source: University of Vienna