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Home > Press > Meridian Institute Launches News Service

Abstract:
Service will provide coverage of the most important developments at the nexus of nanotechnology and poverty alleviation

Meridian Institute Launches Nanotechnology and Development News Service

Posted on December 12, 2005

A new news service focused on nanotechnology and development will fill an existing gap in tracking the opportunities and risks that nanotechnology may present for developing countries.

Nanotechnology and Development News, which is freely available via email, the web, and by RSS, has been launched by Meridian Institute, a non-profit organization with a mission of helping people solve problems and make informed decisions about complex and controversial societal issues. The news service will provide coverage of the most important developments at the nexus of nanotechnology and poverty alleviation.

Decisions made by individuals from government, industry, NGOs, academia, and other sectors, in both developed and developing countries, could have long-term impacts on the policies, practices, and systems that guide nanotechnology's use for development applications in the future. Meridian hopes that the news service will help these individuals keep track of emerging information about both the opportunities and risks of nanotechnology, especially as it pertains to developing countries, thereby helping them make better informed decisions. The news service is funded by the United Kingdom's Department for International Development (DFID).

"Despite increasing awareness about the potential applications of nanotechnology to address critical human development needs, there are no information services that specifically focus on tracking both the opportunities and risks of nanotechnology for poor people in developing countries. This news service will make it easier for decision-makers in developed and developing countries to follow the most important developments in this rapidly evolving area of science and technology" said Gordon Conway, DFID's chief scientific advisor.

Nanotechnology and Development
Millions of people worldwide lack access to safe water, energy resources, and health care. In 2000, the United Nations set its Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to target these needs. Several recent reports, including the report of the UN Millennium Project Task Force on Science, Technology, and Innovation, conclude that science and technology, in particular nanotechnology, can contribute significantly to alleviating poverty and achieving the MDGs.

"The use of nanotechnology applications for water treatment and remediation; energy storage, production, and conversion; disease diagnosis and screening; drug delivery systems; health monitoring; air pollution and remediation; food processing and storage; vector and pest detection and control; and agricultural productivity enhancement will help developing countries meet five of the Goals," states the Task Force Report.

Both the public and private sectors in developed and developing countries are investing heavily in nanotechnology. Over 20 countries, including innovative developing countries such as China, South Africa, Brazil, and India, have national nanotechnology programs resulting in a collective public sector investment of approximately $4 billion in 2004. Private sector investments in 2004 added at least an additional $4 billion.

Nanotechnology and Risk
In addition to potential benefits, nanotechnology could also present risks. Concerns about potential human health and environmental risks, as well as societal and ethical implications of nanotechnology, have been at the forefront of dialogue among regulatory agencies, companies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and other stakeholders. Though research in these areas is increasing, knowledge of these issues is limited. Nanotechnology and Development News will track important developments related to risk-based research and socio-economic impacts.

Nanotechnology and Meridian
Nanotechnology and Development News is intended to close the gap between the nanotechnology and development communities by providing balanced information about the policy, scientific, technological, ethical, and social issues that emerge at the intersection of nanotechnology and development to decision-makers in all sectors of society worldwide. The service will provide succinct summaries of important developments from sources including peer-reviewed journals, international news wires, op-eds, blogs, and a variety of industry, government, and NGO publications.

Nanotechnology and Development News builds on Meridian's experience in compiling and presenting information to stakeholders in a manner that facilitates better participation in public dialogue and more informed, durable decisions. The news service is part of Meridian's suite of projects involving nanotechnology, including: the Global Dialogue on Nanotechnology and the Poor: Opportunities and Risk; the International Dialogue on Responsible Research and Development of Nanotechnology; Workshop Series on U.S. Federal Regulations and Nanotechnology;, and facilitation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Interim Ad Hoc Work Group on Nanoscale Materials.

Nanotechnology and Development News can be accessed online at www.merid.org/nanodev

For further information, contact Leili Fatehi at lfatehi@merid.org

####

About the Meridian Institute:
Meridian Institute is a non-profit organization with offices in Dillon, CO and Washington, DC whose mission is to help people solve problems and make informed decisions about complex and controversial societal issues. Meridian's mission is accomplished through facilitation, mediation, and consultation services that include: convening and facilitating multi-party problem-solving and conflict resolution processes; assisting diverse parties in creating alliances and partnerships; designing processes that help organizations develop strategic priorities and sustainable policies. Meridian's work focuses on a wide range of issues related to environment and sustainability, science and technology, security, and health care. Meridian works at the local, national and international levels.

For more information, please click here

The Global Dialogue on Nanotechnology and the Poor: Opportunities and Risks was launched in April 2004 by Meridian Institute, with financial support from The Rockefeller Foundation and the International Development Research Centre, to: raise awareness about the implications of nanotechnology for the poor; close the gaps within and between sectors of society to develop an action plan that addresses opportunities and risks; and identify ways that science and technology can play an appropriate role in the development process. Participants are drawn from industry, government, and NGOs, from both developed and developing countries.

For more information, please click here

The International Dialogue on Responsible Research and Development of Nanotechnology was sponsored by the National Science Foundation and held in June 2004 to bring together governmental representatives from countries with significant nanotechnology R&D programs to enter into an informal dialogue about how best to ensure that such programs are carried out in a responsible manner. Participants covered a broad range of topics, including issues related to regulation and governance, health and safety, the environment, and ethics, as well as issues unique to developing countries. A subsequent meeting was held in 2005 in Brussels, Belgium.

For more information, please click here and here

The United Kingdom's Department for International Development is the UK Government Department responsible for managing Britain's aid to poor countries, working to get rid of extreme poverty. DFID is headed by a Cabinet minister, one of the senior ministers in the British Government. DFID has two headquarters (in London and East Kilbride, near Glasgow) and 25 offices overseas. Views expressed by Nanotechnology and Development News are not necessarily those held by DFID.

For more information, please click here

Contact:
Leili Fatehi
202.354.6455
lfatehi@merid.org

Copyright Meridian Institute

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