The social responsibility of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology: an integral approach

  • Encarnación Caballero-Díaz
  • Bartolomé M. Simonet
  • Miguel ValcárcelEmail author


The concept of social responsibility provides the ideal framework for raising awareness and arousing reflection on the social and environmental impact of nanoparticles in the range of 1–100 nm generated from research activities in nanoscience and production-related activities in nanotechnology. The model proposed here relates the essential aspects of these concepts by connecting the classical sequence Research–Development–Innovation (R&D&I) to nanoscience and nanotechnology (N&N) and social responsibility (SR). This paper identifies the stakeholders of the process and provides an extensive definition of Social Responsibility and related concepts. In addition, it describes the internal and external connotations of the implementation of SR at research centers and nanotechnological industries, and discusses the social implications of nanoscience and nanotechnology with provision for subjects such as nanoethics, nanotoxicity, and nanomedicine, which have emerged from the widespread use of nanomaterials by today’s society.


Nanoscience and nanotechnology Social responsibility Corporate social responsibility Stakeholders Integral model Social and environmental impacts 



Spanish association for standardization and certification


Corporate social responsibility


Corporate social performance


Spanish foundation for science and technology


International labour organization


International organization for standardization


International union of pure and applied chemistry


Nanoscience & nanotechnology


Organization for economic cooperation and development


Research & development


Research & development & innovation


Social responsibility


United Nations



This work was funded by Spain’s Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness within the framework of Project CTQ2011-23790. E. Caballero-Díaz wishes to thank the Ministry for the award of a Research Training Fellowship (Grant AP2008-02955).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Encarnación Caballero-Díaz
    • 1
  • Bartolomé M. Simonet
    • 1
  • Miguel Valcárcel
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Analytical ChemistryUniversity of CordobaCordobaSpain

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