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Nanobiotechnology: Responsible Action on Issues in Society and Ethics

D.J. Bennett and D. Schuurbiers
European Federation of Biotechnology, NL

Keywords:
nanobiotechnology, ethics, society, public, media, politics

Abstract:
The overall aim of this initiative is both, firstly, to anticipate the societal and ethical issues likely to arise as nanobiotechnologies develop and, secondly, to use the lessons from the European GM debate to respond pro-actively and responsibly to the probable public, media and political concerns. This is an interdisciplinary ethics research and communication programme to: • bring together the key relevant players in the field including committed ethicists, social scientists, nanobiotechnologists, communication specialists, SMEs and major companies using nanobiotechnology • horizon-scan for the scientific and commercial developments likely to cause public and political concern • clarify the ethical issues involved or as they arise, and recommend and carry out strategies for public communication to address the emerging questions • take on board the experiences and lessons learned from the European GM debate of the last decade and apply them with this project to the nanobiotechnology discussions • incorporate the recommendations of the European Commission’s Communication “Towards a European Strategy for Nanotechnology” and the results of its current Nanoforum public consultation which surveys European public opinion on these issues • prepare for the relevant actions in the European Commission’s Action Plan for Nanotechnology to be published in Spring 2005 and the Technology Platform on Nanotechnology foreseen in its Seventh Framework Programme commencing in 2006

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