About Andrew Maynard


I’m a Professor in the School for the Future of Innovation in Society at Arizona State University, and Director of the ASU Risk Innovation Lab. I started 2020 Science as a personal blog back in 2007, as a way to connect with a wide audience on the environmental, health and societal implications of nanotechnology. Since then the blog has broadened out to cover emerging technologies more broadly, as well as responsible innovation, science and risk communication, the intersection between science and society, and risk innovation.


My research and professional activities focus on risk innovation, and the responsible development and use of emerging technologies.  I’m especially interested in novel approaches to understanding and addressing risk; effective approaches to developing socially responsive, responsible and beneficial technologies; understanding and responding to the increasingly complex couplings between converging technologies and society; and effective science communication and engagement – particularly through social media.  Through the ASU Risk Innovation Lab, I am exploring novel ways of understanding, thinking about and acting on risk from an entrepreneurial and innovation perspective.  I’m interested in understanding how risk as a “threat to value” shapes evolving risk landscapes around emerging technologies – especially where the value under threat is social, cultural and personal – and how creativity and serendipity can reveal new approaches to navigating these landscapes.


I am widely published in the academic press and in public media.  My peer review papers stretch from physics and toxicology to risk perception, governance, and policy.  I also contribute to a regular column in the journal Nature Nanotechnology (where I writes on emerging ideas and research around nanotechnology and risk), and write for the column “Edge of Innovation” on the news and commentary website The Conversation.  In addition, I direct and produces the YouTube science education channel “Risk Bites”.


My science training is in physics – specializing in nanoparticle analysis – and for many years I conducted and led research on aerosol exposure in occupational settings.  In the early 2000’s I became increasingly involved in guiding US federal initiatives supporting nanotechnology research and development, and in addressing potential risks.  In 2005 I became Chief Science Advisor for the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies (and later the Synthetic Biology Project) at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and for five years helped inform national and global initiatives addressing the responsible development of nanotechnology.  Over this period, I became increasingly interested in science communication and science policy, and began working closely with academics, policy makers, industry, non-government organizations, and journalists, on science-informed decision making. This interest continued between 2010 – 2015 as Director of the University of Michigan Risk Science Center, and Chair of the Environmental Health Sciences Department.  In 2015 I joined the faculty of the School for the Future of Innovation in Society at Arizona State University to continue my work and collaborations on socially responsible, responsible and beneficial research and development.


In the course of my work, I have testified before congressional committees, have served on National Academy panels, and have worked closely with organizations such as the World Economic Forum and the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI) that promote public-private partnerships. I am currently co-chair of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Nanotechnology, and on the Board of Trustees of ILSI North America.  I am also a member of the National Academies of Science Committee on the Science of Science Communication, and advise the science education/engagement program “I’m a Scientist”.  While at the University of Michigan I was involved with the innovative science communication training program RELATE, and continue to serve as an advisor to the initiative. In 2015 I was awarded the Society of Toxicology Public Communication Award.

Useful Links

ORCID (papers)
Google Scholar
Academic Curriculum Vitae
Edge of Innovation column
YouTube (Risk Bites)
2020 Science
Facebook (please follow)
Twitter (please follow) (@2020science)
School for the Future of Innovation in Society


Andrew D. Maynard, Ph.D. Professor, ASU School for the Future of Innovation in Society. Director, ASU Risk Innovation Lab. Email: andrew.maynard@asu.edu. Tel: (480) 727-8831