The Challenge of Developing Oversight Approaches to Nanobiotechnology
8 Pages Posted: 6 Jan 2011
Date Written: Winter 2009
This symposium of 19 articles grows out of a 4-year project funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) (grant #SES-0608791) on “Evaluating Oversight Models for Active Nanostructures and Nanosystems: Learning from Past Technologies in a Societal Context” (Susan M. Wolf, Principal Investigator (PI); Co-PIs: Efrosini Kokkoli, Jennifer Kuzma, Jordan Paradise, Gurumurthy Ramachandran). The goal of this project was to develop oversight recommendations for nanobiotechnology grounded in historical analysis and evaluation of oversight approaches to five cognate technologies: drugs, devices, human gene transfer research (“gene therapy”), chemicals in the workplace, and genetically modified organisms in the food supply. The investigators utilized expert elicitation and literature analysis to develop a structured survey to aid analysis of the successes and failures of these prior oversight regimes. The methodology is presented in the symposium and described in depth in additional team publications cited here. The survey instrument devised represents a significant new tool for evaluating science and technology oversight, including regulatory regimes.
This symposium publishes the five historical case studies plus commentaries, an article co-authored by the investigators comparing across the five case studies to derive overarching lessons for nanobio oversight, and seven articles on cross-cutting ideas including nanobio governance and oversight, risk communication, and approaches to expert elicitation. The symposium includes the work of 30 authors and breaks new ground on policy approaches to emerging science and technology.
Keywords: nanotechnology, nanobiotechnology, law and science, technology oversight, science oversight, regulation of science and technology, emerging technologies, law and empirical studies. FDA, EPA, OSHA, NIOSH, NIH, RAC, USDA, NNI
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