, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 99-113,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 03 Apr 2011

Conversations About Responsible Nanoresearch

Abstract

There is currently a strong focus on responsible research in relation to the development of nanoscience and nanotechnology. This study presents a series of conversations with nanoresearchers, with the ‘European Commission recommendation on a code of conduct for responsible nanosciences and nanotechnologies research’ (EC-CoC) as its point of departure. Six types of reactions to the document are developed, illustrating the diversity existing within the scientific community in responses towards this kind of new approaches to governance. Three broad notions of responsible nanoresearch are presented. The article concludes by arguing that while the suggestion put forward in the EC-CoC brings the concept of responsible nanoresearch a long way, one crucial element is to be wanted, namely responsible nanoresearch as increased awareness of moral choices.

The research that is reported in this paper has been developed and conducted together with our colleague, Fern Wickson. We also especially want to thank the participants at ‘Walkshop’ in Aurlandsdalen September 2009 for inspiring discussions and feedback.