This report examines existing opportunities for citizens and professional stakeholders to engage with nanotechnologies
As part of its overall efforts towards training and community capacity building in Work Package 6, this report reviews European projects and other initiatives that aim to engage citizens and stakeholders with nanotechnologies (and emerging technologies more broadly). The explorative review of 49 engagement initiatives in this report resulted in the following findings:
- The bulk of public engagement initiatives on emerging technologies in the sample are from EU projects funded under the NM(B)P and Science in Society programmes.
- Relatively few engagement initiatives focus exclusively on nanotechnologies; those that do are predominantly EU-funded (86%).
- The majority of engagement initiatives reviewed (78%) are organised in a top-down fashion; they are carried out by technology ‘enactors’ or engagement professionals, often in return for payment or other forms of compensation.
- There is significant variation in the types of public engagement offered by the different initiatives.
- The different types of engagement activities are unevenly distributed: 45 initiatives (92%) have engagement activities that fall within the ‘Inform’ category. Relatively few initiatives aim to empower citizens and stakeholders.
- Only 3 out of the 49 initiatives reviewed currently offer concrete opportunities for citizens and CSOs to engage specifically with nanotechnologies.
These findings suggest that concrete opportunities for citizens and CSOs to actively engage with nanotechnology research and innovation processes are relatively scarce, despite a plethora of public engagement initiatives. The overall conclusion from this review is that the current engagement landscape does not fully address recent policy objectives to actively involve citizens and civil society in the development of research and innovation missions and projects. To strengthen the role of civil society in European research, there should be more attention to the active involvement of citizens and CSOs in shaping the research and innovation agenda. Public engagement needs to focus on the empowerment of citizens and CSOs, moving beyond the conception of societal stakeholders as passive recipients of information. Better alignment of research and innovation with the values, needs and expectations of society requires that the responsive capacity of research and innovation is enhanced.
Read the full report here: Subtask 6.2 – Information and guides for citizens and CSOs
The public engagement database
The public engagement database lists organisations and projects that are currently looking for feedback from citizens and civil society organisations. The list is not meant to be exhaustive, but it is a good base and gives an indication of what is out there and how to get involved.
The database lists three types of initiatives;
- Networks or platforms,
- Local projects and organisations.
How-to guide on participating in the nanodebate
GoNano also developed a “How- to” guide to support citizens who would like to engage with nanotechnologies to express their own needs and concerns and ensure that their thoughts are taken into account in future developments. The guide offers a five-step approach which aims to help define your interests, identify the right opportunity and shares how to become involved in nanotechnology research and development.
For more information about nanotechnology, please visit the join the nanodebate webpage
A complete overview of the content developed in deliverable 6.2 can be here: D6.2 – Guidelines and information for citizens and CSOs
*The document may not be seen as an official subtask report of the GoNano project as it has not yet been approved by the European Commission