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Posted: Sep 28, 2010
NanoCode project published synthesis report on responsible development of nanotechnology
(Nanowerk News) The NanoCode Project has recently published a Synthesis Report that provides a broad overview of current codes of conduct, voluntary measures and practices aimed toward promoting responsible development of nanoscience and nanotechnologies (N&N), and which compares these with the provisions of the Code of Conduct (CoC) for N&N research as proposed by the European Commission. The report includes information drawn from individual country reports prepared by each of the NanoCode partners that covered the situation in their own country.
The NanoCode Synthesis Report is an invaluable resource for all those involved in promoting the responsible development of N&N and provides information also on the further initiatives to be taken in the NanoCode Project in developing tools to support the European CoC.
Major conclusions of the report:
The information gathered in the Consortium Countries (Country Reports) and in a number of countries outside it (desk survey), and summarized in this document, has confirmed that the responsible development of nanotechnologies represents a key topic in the agenda of all of them. The interest and the activity in this field, however, vary from country to country and this variability is somehow mirrored by a similar difference of the efforts with respect to governance and regulation.
The overall situation can be roughly referred to two settings:
A. Countries with a relevant activity in N&N
The majority of countries most active in nanotechnology, both in terms of industrial involvement and research, have specific national initiatives to support and promote their effort. Within this framework, the responsible development of nanotechnologies has gained an increasing attention and several initiatives to this end have been activated or are in the offing. Though often different from country to country in scopes and extent, the principles and the issues guiding these initiatives are generally common.
B. Countries with a (quantitatively) lower level of activity in N&N
In these countries national initiatives supporting N&N do not exist (or have been started only recently) and the activity in nanotechnologies is less structured and this applies also to the initiatives to address it's responsible development. The importance of the issue is, however, well acknowledged and there are initiatives in this field particularly with respect to EHS issues. Normally for regulation, in the European countries the tendency is to look at the regulatory regimes coming from the European Commission. The activations of national initiative supporting N&N could modify the situation giving a boost both to R&D and regulation.
As for the European Commission Code of Conduct on nanotechnology research (CoC), it has been found that the EC CoC, whilst often known and sometimes discussed in stakeholders meetings, has not been yet formally adopted or implemented in the countries investigated, although it must be pointed out that its compliance is being made a mandatory condition for government funding in The Netherlands.