Technology Innovation

At the frontiers of the science of health risk – five areas to watch

by Andrew Maynard January 2, 2013

Cross-posted from Risk Sense This week’s Risk Bites video takes a roller-coaster ride through some of the hottest topics in risk science. Admittedly this is a somewhat personal list, and rather constrained by being compressed into a two and a half minute video for a broad audience. But it does touch on some of the […]

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Think Design – an alternative take on nanotech (in 11 minutes!)

by Andrew Maynard May 22, 2012

A few weeks ago I was asked to give a “TED style talk” on nanotechnology for the University of Michigan Environmental Health Sciences department 125th anniversary.  What they got was a short talk on “thinking small”: The other talks in the series are also worth checking out – covering topics as diverse as epigenetics, cancer, […]

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Carbon nanoparticles could be ubiquitous to many foods

by Andrew Maynard May 19, 2012

TEM images of carbon particles from foods containing caramelized sugar. Click to see larger image. Source: Palashudding et al. Nanotechnology leads to novel materials, new exposures and potentially unique health and environmental risks – or so the argument goes.  But an increasing body of research is showing that relatively uniformly sized nanometer scale particles are […]

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New journal on Environment, Systems and Decisions looking for contributions

by Andrew Maynard May 15, 2012

Call me a fool, but I recently agree to join the editorial board of the new Springer journal Environment, Systems and Decisions (formerly The Environmentalist).  Actually it was a bit of a no-brainer – I’ve been looking for a journal to get involved with that more closely matched my interests in risk, technology innovation and […]

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Nanoparticles, cosmetics and sunscreens – again!

by Andrew Maynard May 3, 2012

Robin Erb has a good piece on cosmetics and safe ingredients in the Detroit Free Press this week – it tackles the very limited regulation over what goes into cosmetics, but balances this with a useful perspective on consumer choice and how this in turn can drive business decisions on what is used and how.  […]

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Nano M&Ms?

by Andrew Maynard April 20, 2012

Not in the technical sense I’m afraid, but thought it would be fun to post this image of nano-branded M&Ms.  They were used as part of a recent NanoDays session with local school kids exploring the broader implications of nanotechnology. The only substantive link they have with real nano-enabled products as far as I can […]

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Nano quadrotors – a game-changing technology innovation, but can we handle it?

by Andrew Maynard March 4, 2012

It’s been hard to avoid the buzz surrounding nano quadrotors this week, following the posting of Vijay Kumar’s jaw-dropping TED talk – and the associated viral video of the semi-autonomous machines playing the James Bond theme. The quadrotors are impressive – incredibly impressive.  But I’m sure I am not the only person watching these videos […]

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Is Maynard going over to the nano-dark side?

by Andrew Maynard February 24, 2012

A few weeks ago I spent some time chatting with Howard Lovy for an article for the Nanobusiness Commercialization Association.  That interview was posted by Vincent Caprio on his blog a few days ago, and raised a few eyebrows – was I showing signs of becoming a nano-risk skeptic? I hope not, as as I […]

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Are consumers risking skin cancer because of fears over nanoparticles in sunscreens?

by Andrew Maynard February 20, 2012

This has just landed in my email in box from Craig Cormick at the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education in Australia, and I thought I would pass it on given the string of posts on nanoparticles in sunscreens on 2020 Science over the past few years: At Australia’s International Conference on […]

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Wonders and Worries – Retro nano at its best!

by Andrew Maynard February 19, 2012

Here’s an introduction to the “wonders and worries of nanotechnology” that I think is rather brilliant: It’s part of a series being produced by the Science Museum of Minnesota for the Nanoscale Informal Science Education network (NISE Net). The series is designed to stimulate discussions addressing the societal and ethical implication of nanotechnology – but […]

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World Economic Forum: Top Emerging Technologies Trends

by Andrew Maynard February 16, 2012

For the past few months, the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Emerging Technologies has been working on identifying some of the most significant trends in technology innovation.  Published yesterday by WEF, these represent ten areas that we as a council felt are likely to shake things up over the next few years in […]

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Exploring speculated catastrophe and mundane reality

by Andrew Maynard February 4, 2012

Credit: James King Last semester, speculative designer James King worked with myself and a small group of science and public health students at the University of Michigan to explore how a fusion of science and creative art can lead to new insights and modes of communication.  The exercise was part of the A World of […]

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National Academy publishes new nanomaterials risk research strategy

by Andrew Maynard January 25, 2012

The US National Academy of Science today published its long-awaited Research Strategy for Environmental, Health, and Safety Aspects of Engineered Nanomaterials. I won’t comment extensively on the report as I was a member of the committee that wrote it.  But I did want to highlight a number of aspects of it that I think are […]

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2012 World Economic Forum Global Risk Report

by Andrew Maynard January 11, 2012

Cross-posted from the Risk Science Blog The World Economic Forum Global Risks Report is one of the most authoritative annual assessments of emerging issues surrounding risk currently produced. Now in its seventh edition, the 2012 report launched today draws on over 460 experts* from industry, government, academia and civil society to provide insight into 50 […]

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Innovation resolutions for 2012

by Andrew Maynard December 31, 2011

Note to self: When being swept up in the inevitable innovation frenzies* that 2012 will bring, don’t forget to: Be aware of where change is needed, and where it is not; Focus on inventiveness that will foster new solutions to pressing challenges; Develop the foresight to explore and respond to the consequences of actions arising […]

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The Human Project needs your help!

by Andrew Maynard August 25, 2011

Here’s an interesting idea – build a free iPad app that kicks off a global conversation about the future of the human species. The Human Project is the brain child of Erika Ilves & Anna Stillwell.  At its core is a yet-to-be-built iPad app that captures the essence of humanity past and future – who […]

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Final program posted for the Risk, Uncertainty and Sustainable Innovation symposium

by Andrew Maynard August 19, 2011

It’s been a while in the making, but with a little under five weeks to go, we have just posted the final program for the 2011 Risk Science Symposium (20-21 Sept).  And even though I say so myself, it’s a doozy! Somehow, we are squeezing 45 invited speakers into the two days, and not any […]

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A nanotechnology regulation hat trick from the US federal government

by Andrew Maynard June 10, 2011

It must be Nanotechnology Regulation week in Washington DC.  Yesterday, two federal agencies and the White House released documents that grapple with the effective regulation of products that depend on engineered nanomaterials. In a joint memorandum, the Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of the United […]

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A new look for the US National Nanotechnology Initiative

by Andrew Maynard May 16, 2011

A few weeks ago, the US National Nanotechnology Initiative website – – underwent a much-needed facelift.  The NNI’s web portal was creaky when I was part of the Initiative several years ago now.  And it’s somewhat ironic that the world’s leading interagency initiative on one of the most prominent cutting edge technology platforms has […]

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A plug for the 2011 Risk Science Symposium: Risk, Uncertainty and Sutainable Innovation

by Andrew Maynard May 13, 2011

Registration is now open for the 2011 Risk Science Symposium, and as I’m chairing it, I thought it worth giving a bit of a plug here. The symposium brings together a fantastic cast of experts from very different backgrounds to explore the intersection of technology innovation and human health risk – with the aim of […]

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