Kristin: I’m currently writing up a report on nanotechnology and public engagement in Europe from my trip last year. In addition to attending COMS2009, I met a number of people interested in how emerging technologies interact with society, and we discussed their approaches to nanotechnology and public engagement.
I visited Prof Arie Pip and MESA+ at the University of Twente, and the Rathenau Institue in The Netherlands; Brice Laurent from the Ecole Des Mines Sorbonne and VivAgora in Paris; and finally in London, The Nanotechnology Knowledge Transfer Network, The Dana Centre and Hilary Sutcliffe from the Responsible Nano Forum.
I first came into contact with Hilary in November 2007 when the Australian Nano Business Forum asked me to facilitate a response to an initiative of theirs to develop a voluntary code of conduct for responsible development of nanotechnologies. Since then, The Responsible Nano Forum has generated a number of initiatives aimed at providing balanced views on nanotechnology. Their latest project (which had just been launched when I was there in September) is called Nano & Me, and is a website aiming to provide balanced information about nanotechnologies and be the hub of debate for everyone to discuss the important issues which arise from its use.
I think the site is great and well-communicated. I am interested in why people without a background in nanotechnology would be interested in visiting it, what sort of information they’d be looking for, and what would prompt them to contribute to the forums. Why would you visit?