, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 165-182
Date: 10 Oct 2006

Moving forward responsibly: Oversight for the nanotechnology-biology interface

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Abstract

Challenges and opportunities for appropriate oversight of nanotechnology applied to or derived from biological systems (nano-bio interface) were discussed in a public workshop and dialog hosted by the Center for Science, Technology, and Public Policy of the University of Minnesota on September 15, 2005. This paper discusses the themes that emerged from the workshop, including the importance of analyzing potential gaps in current regulatory systems; deciding upon the general approach taken toward regulation; employing non-regulatory mechanisms for governance; making risk and other studies transparent and available to the public; bolstering mechanisms for public participation in risk analysis; creating more opportunities for meaningful discussion of the social and ethical dimensions of the nano-bio interface; increasing funds for implications and problem-solving research in this area; and having independent and reliable sources for communication. The workshop was successful in identifying ways of moving forward responsibly so that ultimately nanotechnology and its products can succeed in developers’, researchers’, regulators’, and the public’s eyes.