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Home > Press > First-of-its-Kind Participatory Civic Nanotech Event

Abstract:
Societal Implications of Nanotechnology

First-of-its-Kind Participatory Civic Nanotech Event to be held at University of Texas, Austin

Science, Technology & Society Program, University of Texas at Austin

Austin, TX | July 19, 2005

The Science, Technology & Society Program (STS) at the University of Texas at Austin will host the STS Civic Forum on the Societal Implications of Nanotechnology, a first-of-its kind participatory civic event.

The STS Civic Forum on the Societal Implications of Nanotechnology, to be held October 1, 2005 at the University of Texas at Austin, is designed to set standards for effective stakeholder engagement of nanotechnology's societal opportunities and challenges. It is the first large-scale civic forum in the world focusing public discussion on the social impacts of nanotechnology. Through this event, organizers seek to bring all critical stakeholders together, including government and policy makers; local area businesses, especially those who actively participate in nanotechnology, as well as the industry's innovators and entrepreneurs; academia, scientists, and students; and the general public.

“Nanotechnology promises to become intrinsically important to so many aspects of our economy and our society,” said Dr. Leslie Jarmon, Community Engagement Officer, STS Program, UT Austin. “Whether directly or indirectly involved, everyone becomes a stakeholder. By providing a forum for diverse perspectives, we will be better prepared to address our societal needs and shape the impacts nanotechnology will have on our future."

The model for civic engagement will be made available nationwide through the STS Program at the University of Texas. The STS Civic Forum is taking on the critical challenge of how diverse stakeholders' views can be brought together to help shape the decisions, development, funding, regulation, and best applications for nanotechnology for our society.

By creating a "Nano Scenario," the 400 participating stakeholders all come together in an experiential activity grounded in research based on the potential benefits of nanotechnology, its uncertainties and risks, the complexity of the issues, and the roles of the individuals involved. The forum model deepens the stakeholders' understanding of different perspectives and creates the conditions for the emergence of new forms of enlightened civic engagement and decision-making for communities, counties, states, and the national government.

Among its other objectives, the Science, Technology, & Society Program (STS) at the University of Texas at Austin conducts research on societal implications of nanotechnology and organizes activities on nanotechnology awareness in society. The STS Advisory Board, made up of technology thought leaders in the Austin community, ranks increasing public awareness of nanotechnology as STS's top priority. UT Austin is home to many state-of-the-art research institutes related to nanotechnology. For the world's first Civic Forum, STS is collaborating with these institutions, city government, and business/industry partners to research the social impacts of nanotechnology and to create models for making better informed decisions about how this technological innovation will shape the future of our society.

There is no cost to attend the STS Civic Form of the Societal Implications of Nanotechnology, but an RSVP is required.

####

About the STS Civic Forum:
The Science, Technology, & Society Program (STS) at the University of Texas at Austin is sponsoring the Civic Forum on the Societal Implications of Nanotechnology. This participatory civic event, the first large-scale nanotechnology event of its kind in the world, is designed to set standards for effective stakeholder engagement of nanotechnology's societal opportunities and challenges.

For more information, please please contact Dr. Leslie Jarmon (LJarmon@mail.utexas.edu)
or visit the STS site at www.sts.utexas.edu/civicforum/


Media Contact:
Patti D. Hill
BlabberMouth PR
direct - 512.218.0401
cell - 512.922.3033
patti@blabbermouthPR.com

Copyright © University of Texas at Austin

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