The European Commission Directorate-General for Research, Technology and Development has published a paper, entitled Communicating Nanotechnology - Why, to whom, saying what and how? - An action-packed roadmap towards a brand new dialogue, but according to NanoWerk, which was the first to report in its Spotlight-series on the publication of this document, it’s too little too late: ‘this is the European Commission – notorious for its massive bureaucracy; slow; expensive; and being run by committee. The fact alone that they come up with a meaningful communications roadmap only many years and many billions of euros after embarking on a huge R&D effort speaks for itself (the situation in the U.S. isn't much better; on the contrary, they don't even have this kind of communications roadmap),’ criticises the respective Spotlight article.
In the paper’s foreword, Herbert von Bose, Director of Industrial Technologies, Directorate G, Research DG of the European Commission, notes that ‘[t]his communication exercise should, indirectly, have two major, desirable effects: increasing the consensus between stakeholders, society and policymakers on EC decisionmaking about nanotechnology; and strengthening the image of the EC as an impartial, transparent and trustworthy communicator on nanotechnology’.
According to Christos Tokamanis, Head of Unit for Nano- and Converging Sciences and Technologies Directorate G, Research DG of the European Commission, ‘[t]he EC takes this whole communication effort on nanotechnology so seriously, that it now wants to prepare for an appropriate dialogue among stakeholders about the social challenges of nanotechnology: this has been the focus of two further publications issued at the beginning of 2008 and of other projects launched during this and next year, with special emphasis on television and Web media, as well as on young people.
Reaching the right audiences, with the appropriate message and means is of essence.
All these dialogue efforts will culminate into the European Platform on Nano Outreach and Dialogue (NODE): it will deal with a specific system of mechanisms to enliven and coordinate the continuous and open dialogue on nanotechnology within the whole EU society, empowering both EC and Member States with a very challenging tool for delivering technical democracy on nanotechnology’.
Follow these links to download the full paper (and Annex).