Journal of Nanoparticle Research

, Volume 13, Issue 4, pp 1345–1371

Recommendations for oversight of nanobiotechnology: dynamic oversight for complex and convergent technology


    • Division of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public HealthUniversity of Minnesota
  • Susan M. Wolf
    • Consortium on Law and Values in HealthEnvironment & the Life Sciences; Law School; Medical School; Center for Bioethics, University of Minnesota
  • Jordan Paradise
    • Law SchoolSeton Hall University
  • Jennifer Kuzma
    • Humphrey Institute of Public AffairsUniversity of Minnesota
  • Ralph Hall
    • Law SchoolUniversity of Minnesota
  • Efrosini Kokkoli
    • Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials ScienceUniversity of Minnesota
  • Leili Fatehi
    • Consortium on Law and Values in HealthEnvironment & the Life Sciences; Law School, University of Minnesota
Special focus: Governance of Nanobiotechnology

DOI: 10.1007/s11051-011-0233-2

Cite this article as:
Ramachandran, G., Wolf, S.M., Paradise, J. et al. J Nanopart Res (2011) 13: 1345. doi:10.1007/s11051-011-0233-2


Federal oversight of nanobiotechnology in the U.S. has been fragmented and incremental. The prevailing approach has been to use existing laws and other administrative mechanisms for oversight. However, this “stay-the-course” approach will be inadequate for such a complex and convergent technology and may indeed undermine its promise. The technology demands a new, more dynamic approach to oversight. The authors are proposing a new oversight framework with three essential features: (a) the oversight trajectory needs to be able to move dynamically between “soft” and “hard” approaches as information and nano-products evolve; (b) it needs to integrate inputs from all stakeholders, with strong public engagement in decision-making to assure adequate analysis and transparency; and (c) it should include an overarching coordinating entity to assure strong inter-agency coordination and communication that can meet the challenge posed by the convergent nature of nanobiotechnology. The proposed framework arises from a detailed case analysis of several key oversight regimes relevant to nanobiotechnology and is informed by inputs from experts in academia, industry, NGOs, and government.


NanobiotechnologyDynamic oversightPublic engagementOversight frameworkGovernance

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011