Recommendations for oversight of nanobiotechnology: dynamic oversight for complex and convergent technology
- First Online:
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.