Nanotechnology: public engagement with health, environmental and social issues

Report for the STRIVE-funded project: 2007-FS-EH-1-M5

Summary: STRIVE Report 61 - Pádraig Murphy

Published: 2010

ISBN: 978-1-84095-373-2

Pages: 81

Filesize: 974KB

Format: pdf

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This EPA STRIVE research fellowship report presents a literature review and fieldwork data for a project that investigated how the topic of nanotechnology can be engaged with by both experts on the topic and non-experts.

The first objective was to map out what can be said about knowledge of nanotechnology in contemporary Ireland. All perspectives on nanotechnology were taken on board, analysed and synthesised, including deviations from the accepted truths about nanotechnology. While perspectives on environmental and health implications were of particular interest, they were not the primary focus in discussions, unless raised by participants and commentators. Methods used for this study included an awareness survey and media and document analyses.

The second objective was to pilot a series of nanotechnology communication events, which would provide the basis of a future communications/consultation strategy for policy-makers. The types of activities used in these events included focus groups, a ‘citizens’ jury’, online forums and an installation in the Science Gallery in Dublin. The contributions from these activities also added to the first objective of addressing nanotechnology knowledge.

The third and final objective was to report to the EPA, in order to aid future environmental research associated with public communication and wider science communication and technology assessment policy by the Irish government.

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