| Person in charge of the project: |
Nanotechnologies for tomorrow's society.|
Nanotechnology is science's next big thing. The prefix 'nano' indicates a dimension of one billionth of something. A nanosecond for instance is one billionth of a second; a nanometre (nm) is one billionth of a metre. Although the majority of applications are not yet available for commercial use, many experts believe that, as from 2010, we will plunge into an era where nanotechnology will profoundly change our daily way of living. This intelligent future consists of smart wireless devices in, on and around our bodies for the use of increased comfort. But also new materials and more powerful chips will have their impact on virtually all sectors (medicine, environment, defense, food industry, textile, energy,.).|
Nanotechnology is a young, emerging technology, and as with all you new technologies, there are still many uncertainties about the possible impact of nanoapplications on environment and human body, privacy, the gap between poor and rich countries, etc. Nanotechnology will have consequences for many domains in society, implicating that many different actors are involved. Physicists, chemist, engineers, biotechnologists and medics will try to make a world with increased human comfort and health and a cleaner environment, while sociologists and ethicists will focus on its societal and ethical concerns and advantages. This process is not linear, with scientists upstream the technology's trajectory and impact analysis downstream. Rather, it is a mutual learning proces to understand the shaping of nanotechnology with an open end and without neglecting the concerns of Technology Assessment experts, consumers, citizens,...
The NanoSoc project will focus on new nanomaterials, bionanosensors and smart environment. It consists of three research sections:
- The first section is active reflection research. The research consortium designed and intends to perform a process consisting of a series of interactive exercises. This process is meant to interrupt the normal R&D dynamics and to organise moments of reflection, from a societal perspective, in choices that are inherent to this dynamics.
- In the second section the analysis of the quality of the reflexive process is central. The researchers will investigate the procedural and substantial quality of the reflexive process.
Thirdly, the researchers will evaluate the impact of the research culture of the participating research institutions on the reflexive process and vice versa in order to find institutional preconditions that are either stimulating or hindering the integration of societal reflections into the R&D dynamics.
Duration of the project:
01.02.2006 - 31.01.2010