The screening of R&D policiesand industry priorities shows that nanotechnologies are supported to improve industrial competitivenessandto tackle several societalchallenges. Two of the areas covered by GoNano, i.e. health and energy, play an important role in the H2020’ssupport for nanotechnologies.Research and innovation of nanotechnologies havealsoentailed a range of new debates and institutions to deal with the uncertainties and potential side-effects of this technology. The screeningof EU risk governancereveals that many risk and regulatory issues are still unresolvedand will likely continue to exist.Therefore, it is a key task of the pilots to avoid a technology-fix position, in which nanotechnologies are framed as the (only)solution to a range of problem and risk and regulatory issues are understood as easily manageable.Rather than presuming that complete knowledge on the impacts of nanotechnologiescan be acquired and regulatedaccordingly, the pilots should raise questions along the line of “which uncertainties and risks are we willing to take in exchange of the benefits of nanotechnologies for food, health and energy?”
In respect to the three pilot sectors, food, health and energy, the report provides the following conclusions: The envisioned applications of nanotechnology in the food industry appear rather limitedand in the short-term are related to food safety and security and food packaging. In the longer-term, nanotechnologies are expected to be used to realize functional foods. Debates on EHS issues and regulations, however,are particularly pronounced in the food sector with a range of sectoral regulations explicitly addressing nanotechnologies.
The health sector is expected to experience major advancements thanks to nanotechnology. In therapeutics nanotechnologies offer the possibility for aprecise control on the release of drugs, reduce the side effects of therapies and to maximise the personalization and efficacy of therapies. Nano-electronics are expected to contribute tomore efficient, fast and site-specific, minimally invasive diagnostic and monitoring systems. Nano-assisted regenerative medicine is targete atimprovingtissue regeneration, develop cell-based therapies and new intelligent biomaterials. Also in the health sector, a range of EHS, unresolved uncertainties and risks to human healthare debated and included in existing and new regulations.
The energy sector is expected tobenefit from nanotechnology mainly in terms of new structural and functional materials and devices, in particular for energy production (e.g. advanced photovoltaics), energy storage (batteries), and various applications for energy saving. Alarge group of applications in different sectors can be found that will allow to enhance energy efficiency, reduce energy in industrial processes, improve power distribution and miniaturize energy supply systems. So far, no specific regulations concerning nanotechnologies exist forthe energy sector.
Publisher: EPTA – European Parliamentary Technology Assessment
Published: Vienna; November 2016
Editor: Michael Nentwich
Authors Chapter 'Austria': Tanja Sinozic, Michael Nantwich, Walter Peissl, Georg Aichholzer & Johann Čas
-> Up until now, citizens and third sector actors are not routinely involved in the governance of research and innovation.
-> Citizens and third sector actors face specific barriers to engagement in research and innovation.
-> Policies and practices in support of societal engagement should address questions of relevance, impact, trust, knowledge and skills, time and financial resources, and legitimacy.
-> BürgerInnen und zivilgesellschaftliche Organisationen sehen sich mit spezifischen Hindernissen für die Beteiligung konfrontiert.
-> Politiken und Praktiken zur Unterstützung der gesellschaftlichen Beteiligung sollten sich mit Fragen der Relevanz, der Wirkung, des Vertrauens, des Wissens, der zeitlichen und finanziellen Ressourcen sowie der Legitimität befassen.