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Who knows what Nano is?

In a 176-page report to European Commission’s Research Directorate-General, entitled Europeans and biotechnology in 2010 – Wind of change? the Eurobarometer investigates the perception of the public on a variety of technological developments including nanotechnology.

Investigated trends in technology indicated that Nuclear, Wind and Solar power developments carried public enthusiasm, while the biotechnology and nanotechnology have taken a small dive in optimism in the past five years.

The survey focused on everyday nanotechnology applications such as sunscreens, cleaning products and cosmetics. The question that was asked probed people’s attitude towards nanotechnology while outlining benefits and potential worries about the nanotechnology. Despite an unfortunate formulation of the question that ended on a negative note, the attitude towards nanotechnology was reported as positive in all bar 3 European countries. On average 61% of EU population consider nanotechnology positively. However, upon probing about the knowledge of the subject the respondents were divided. The nanotechnology awareness was found to be relatively low:

  • 55% Not heard about nanotechnology before
  • 20% Heard only
  • 22% Talked about or searched for information occasionally
  • 3% Talked about or searched for information frequently

The main result with more than half of EU population having no understanding of nanotechnology may worry experts and may slow down the support for nanotechnology in the future. The report also makes the point in comparing the public attitude for wind and nuclear energy technologies to that for nano and bio. Energy technologies have been on the front pages of all newspapers for many years due to global warming debate making these technologies more and more popular, while the nano- and bio-technologies have not received nearly as much coverage. Maybe there is a lesson to learn for nano-community.

 

Follow this link to read more about the Eurobarometer report.

News item was produced by NIA in association with BREC Solutions.

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