Risk Governance of Nanotechnologies: The International State-of-the-Art (25.9.2007)

25. September 2007

ÖAW – Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften 
1010 Wien, Dr. Ignaz Seipel-Platz 2

Nanotechnologies offer many benefits but also present considerable challenges to regulators, manufacturers and to society at large. Over recent years several reviews on harmful effects of nanotechnologies have been published which summarise the currently available information and define future research tasks. Recently, public agencies have been busy sorting out the most important research needs with respect to regulation and control of nanomaterials in national research strategies. Particularly important were contributions by the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH), the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in Germany in a joint effort with the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) and the Federal Environment Agency (UBA).

This one-day workshop gave an overview over recent developments defining research needs and brought forward adequate approaches to risk governance of nanotechnologies. Speakers from the European Commission (DG Research, DG Environment and DG Health), the International Risk Governance Council and from several well-renowned research organisations (Rice University, FZK Karlsruhe) presented the status of research activities and strategies regarding risk governance including environment, health and safety issues (EHS), ethical, legal and social aspects (ELSA), and political and security issues (PSI) of nanotechnology development.

In the evening, a panel with representatives of science and administration discussed issues of risk governance with the wider public.

The workshop language was English. The panel discussion in the evening was in German.

The symposium was organised by the Institute of Technology Assessment (ITA), Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna, and funded by the Federal Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology BMVIT in the framework of a related nano research project.