3 thoughts on “Public participation in nanotechnology – should we care?”

  1. Thanks Barbara, this is a very useful blog and very helpful personally for me. I didn’t realised it was enshrined in the NNI, not enshrined in anything here I don’t think.

    There are three things which pop out for me:

    How many citizens have a right to know?
    This whole ‘right to know’ and ‘informed consent’ discussion is sensible and admirable, but it usually, for very good reasons, results in some focus groups at best. What troubles me is if all citizens have a ‘right to know’ how do we broaden our information provision to reach all citizens, particularly as you say on risk, without skewing the debate incorrectly.

    All roads seem to lead, certainly here, to various permutations of a carefully demographically representative focus group. So I am very interested in your new approaches in this context. However, I suppose I am then leading to a ‘promotional campaign’ for the issue instead, which makes the biggest noise to the largest number of people, with the potential for feedback, which I think is interesting, possible, expensive, useful and maybe a terrible idea!

    We also need a feedback loop
    Though I have only read your blog quickly, you don’t seem to mention a feedback loop which I think is also important. We rarely see the consulting organisation going back to those engaged with, and in fact communicating more widely, to explain what decision was finally taken, the decision taking process, what impact the stakeholder input had on this process and what other influences dictated the eventual outcome. Government in particular must do this more in order to engender our trust. But again, a bit too boring for national press, not sure how that should be communicated, though web based processes could work well.

    I would love to be kept on your list of people to send stuff too. Please do add me, on hilary@matterforall.org.

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