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Abstract - Nanobio-RAISE - assessing social and ethical implications of nanobiotechnologies

D. Schuurbiers
Delft University of Technology, NL

nanobiotechnology, ethics, communication, policy

Nanotechnologies are expected to have a profound impact on societies and economies around the globe. At the same time, public awareness of nanotechnology is very low. This has led many to consider nanotechnology to be the next major public, NGO, media and political issue after nuclear energy and GM food and agriculture.
Nanobio-RAISE is a European Commission-funded project bringing together the key relevant players in the field to:
1 - horizon-scan for scientific and commercial developments likely to cause concern,
2 - clarify the ethical issues and public concerns involved and carry out strategies for public communication to address them,
3 - take on board the lessons learned from the GM debate and apply them to the nanobiotechnology discussions.
These objectives will be realised by an ethics research and communications programme carried out in 2006 and 2007, consisting of horizon-scanning workshops, an Expert Group, public opinion focus group discussions, advanced ethics & public communication courses, a series of briefing papers, ethics lectures and public relations activities.
Nanobiotechnologies offer opportunities in diverse areas of research and can be expected to deliver many beneficial applications. But the potential impact of these technologies requires consideration of the broader consequences.

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