Journal of Nanoparticle Research

, Volume 5, Issue 3–4, pp 181–189 | Cite as

Broader Societal Issues of Nanotechnology

  • M.C. Roco


Nanoscale science and engineering are providing unprecedented understanding and control over the basic building blocks of matter, leading to increased coherence in knowledge, technology, and education. The main reason for developing nanotechnology is to advance broad societal goals such as improved comprehension of nature, increased productivity, better healthcare, and extending the limits of sustainable development and of human potential. This paper outlines societal implication activities in nanotechnology R&D programs. The US National Nanotechnology Initiative annual investment in research with educational and societal implications is estimated at about $30 million (of which National Science Foundation (NSF) awards about $23 million including contributions to student fellowships), and in nanoscale research with relevance to environment at about $50 million (of which NSF awards about $30 million and EPA about $6 million). An appeal is made to researchers and funding organizations worldwide to take timely and responsible advantage of the new technology for economic and sustainable development, to initiate societal implications studies from the beginning of the nanotechnology programs, and to communicate effectively the goals and potential risks with research users and the public.

nanoscience nanotechnology societal implications environment health international 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • M.C. Roco
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.National Science Foundation (NSF)ArlingtonUSA
  2. 2.National Science and Technology Council's Subcommittee on Nanoscale Science, Engineering and TechnologyUSA

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