Nanotechnology Now





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

Home > Press > Scientists and public differ on views about nanotechnology regulation

Elizabeth Corley, associate professor of public policy in ASU’s School of Public Affairs at the College of Public Programs in Downtown Phoenix. Photo: Felipe Ruiz-Acosta
Elizabeth Corley, associate professor of public policy in ASU’s School of Public Affairs at the College of Public Programs in Downtown Phoenix. Photo: Felipe Ruiz-Acosta

Abstract:
In the growing debate over regulating nanotechnology - a burgeoning global industry with wide-ranging potential applications - a new study by Arizona State University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison reveals that the views of U.S. nanoscientists differ from those of the general public.

Scientists and public differ on views about nanotechnology regulation

Phoenix, AZ | Posted on June 22nd, 2009

Nanotechnology involves controlling matter of an atomic and molecular size to develop devices of an incredibly small scale, usually 100 nanometers or smaller (tiny enough to fit through a surgical mask). The technology is becoming more pervasive, with more than a thousand products ranging from more efficient solar panels and scratch-resistant automobile paint, to souped-up golf clubs already on the market.

Global revenues from products using nanotechnology are estimated to reach $2.8 trillion by 2015, according to Global Industry Analysts Inc.

As reported in the online version of the Journal of Nanoparticle Research, researchers found that the public tends to focus on the benefits - rather than potential environmental and health risks - when making decisions about nanotechnology regulation, whereas scientists mainly focus on potential risks and economic values.

"We think that nanoscientists view regulations as protections for the public, and that's part of the reason why they focus on the potential risks. On the other hand, the public seems to think of nanotechnology regulations as restricting their access to new products and other beneficial aspects of nanotechnology," says Elizabeth Corley, Lincoln Professor of Public Policy, Ethics and Emerging Technologies in Arizona State University's School of Public Affairs, and co-author of the study.

According to the study, leading U.S. scientists in nanotechnology believe regulations are most urgently needed in the areas of surveillance and privacy, human enhancement, medicine and the environment. At the same time, this group feels that other areas, including machines and computers, have little need for further regulation.

Decision-makers often rely on the input of scientists when setting policies on nanotechnology because of the high degree of scientific uncertainty - and the lack of data - about its risks, Corley says.

"This difference in the way nanoscientists and the public think about regulations is important for policymakers (to take into consideration) if they are planning to include both groups in the policymaking process for nanotechnology," says Corley.

The study also reveals an interesting divide within the group of nanoscientists. Economically conservative scientists were less likely to support regulations, while economically liberal scientists were more likely to do so.

"This says less about scientists than it does about the lack of conclusive data about risks related to nanotechnology," concludes Dietram Scheufele, Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and co-author of the study. "Policymakers need to realize that when they ask scientists to give them advice about inconclusive findings, they will get both their professional judgment and their personal views."

Data for the study came from survey questionnaires filled out by 363 of the most highly cited and most active U.S.-affiliated scientists in the nanotechnology field. The survey, conducted between May and June of 2007, was administered by the University of Wisconsin Survey Center. It was the first nationally representative study of nanoscientists.

####

About Arizona State University

The School of Public Affairs is part of the ASU College of Public Programs at the Downtown Phoenix campus. The College embraces students and faculty dedicated to rigorous education and research in the service of social and economic change. Academic units within the College include the Schools of Community Resources and Development; Criminology and Criminal Justice; Public Affairs; and Social Work. Areas of expertise include: improving the quality of life for individuals and families from all backgrounds; innovative approaches to public management; and nonprofit leadership and organizational effectiveness.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
SOURCE:
Elizabeth Corley
Lincoln Professor of Public Policy
Ethics & Emerging Technologies
Associate Professor of Public Policy
ASU School of Public Affairs
(602) 496-0462


MEDIA CONTACT:
Corey Schubert
Manager of Media Communications
ASU College of Public Programs
602.496.0406 office
602.370.6128 cell

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Superconductor could be realized in a broken Lorenz invariant theory July 7th, 2015

New technique enables magnetic patterns to be mapped in 3-D July 7th, 2015

Crystal structure and magnetism -- new insight into the fundamentals of solid state physics: HZB team decodes relationship between magnetic interactions and the distortions in crystal structure within a geometrically 'frustrated' spinel system July 7th, 2015

Down to the quantum dot: Jülich researchers develop ultrahigh-resolution 3-D microscopy technique for electric fields July 7th, 2015

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

A cool way to form 2-D conducting polymers using ice: POSTECH scientists develop breakthrough technique to easily optimize electrical properties of Polyaniline nanosheets to an unprecedented level in an environmental-friendly and inexpensive way July 7th, 2015

New technique enables magnetic patterns to be mapped in 3-D July 7th, 2015

Surfing a wake of light: Researchers observe and control light wakes for the first time July 6th, 2015

New technology using silver may hold key to electronics advances July 2nd, 2015

Possible Futures

BBC World Service to broadcast Forum discussion on graphene July 6th, 2015

Groundbreaking research to help control liquids at micro and nano scales July 3rd, 2015

Harris & Harris Group Portfolio Company D-Wave Systems Announces 1,000 Qubit Processor and is Discussed in the Economist June 23rd, 2015

Global Nanoclays Market Analysis, Size, Growth, Trends And Segment Forecasts, 2015 To 2022: Grand View Research, Inc June 15th, 2015

Announcements

Superconductor could be realized in a broken Lorenz invariant theory July 7th, 2015

New technique enables magnetic patterns to be mapped in 3-D July 7th, 2015

Crystal structure and magnetism -- new insight into the fundamentals of solid state physics: HZB team decodes relationship between magnetic interactions and the distortions in crystal structure within a geometrically 'frustrated' spinel system July 7th, 2015

Down to the quantum dot: Jülich researchers develop ultrahigh-resolution 3-D microscopy technique for electric fields July 7th, 2015

Safety-Nanoparticles/Risk management

NIST ‘How-To’ Website Documents Procedures for Nano-EHS Research and Testing July 1st, 2015

Proposed TSCA Nanomaterial Rule ‘Premature’, Says Former EPA Toxicologist July 1st, 2015

NNI Publishes Workshop Report and Launches Web Portal on Nanosensors: Both outputs support the Nanotechnology Signature Initiative ‘Nanotechnology for Sensors and Sensors for Nanotechnology: Improving and Protecting Health, Safety, and the Environment’ June 24th, 2015

Environmental Issues to Hamper Growth of Global Nanocomposites Market June 4th, 2015

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More










ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project