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Region Ile de France:
Citizens conference on nanosciences and nanotechnologies


The Council for the Ile-de-France region held a Citizen' conference on nanosciences and nanotechnologies on 20 January 2007.

Following discussions with experts, the citizens' panel conveyed its views and recommendations on nanotechnologieson 22 January 2007. The citizens addressed the issues of evaluation of risks linked to nanotech, ethics, communication and legislation and comment the fields of pplication of nanosciences, such as health, military or environment.

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The French CNDP (Commission Nationaledu Débat Public)

Law 2002-276 (February 27, 2002), regarding democracy of proximity, transforms the Commission nationale du débat public (CNDP), which was created in 1995 by the “Barnier” law, into an independant administrative authority and broadens its scope.
CNDP is responsible to ensure that national interest development projects include public participation during their elaboration process whenever major social and economic consequences are at stake or whenever there is a significant impact on the environment.

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The Cafe Scientifique Network

Café Scientifique - as fostered and supported in a current project by the British Council, United Kingdom‘s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations - provides a unique forum for the discussion of topical and thought provoking scientific issues in a way that is much more relaxed, informal and accessible than a public lecture.

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Nanotechnology and public engagement

Taken from the Scientific Alliance’s newsletter, 15 June 2007


Nanotechnology is fashionable and, like most new technologies, has had its potential over-hyped by many. (...) Nevertheless, the unique properties of materials at the nano-scale make this a fruitful area for development but, along with projected benefits come potential hazards. (...) Poorly handled, such issues have the potential to be a major public relations disaster in the similar way to GM crops.


One way to avoid this - pushed hard by the think tank Demos, among others - is public engagement. The concept is that, by involving lay people in the debate early on, concerns are raised and addressed and the direction of research influenced in ways which are likely to increase acceptance by society. This is the currently fashionable view of how relations between scientists and the public should be handled, replacing the ‚deficit model‘ addressed by the much-derided Public Understanding of Science (PUS) movement.

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"Les Etats généraux de l’alcool" in France, a citizens’ debate on issues relating to alcohol


Alcohol has a notable place within French society: it is of great importance from economic and cultural standpoints. But it is also the second most common cause of avoidable death: it plays a direct or indirect role in the occurence of many diseases, and it is also involved in road accidents, violence and in some mental diseases.

In the face of such stakes, the French Ministry of Health and Inpes (Institut national de prévention et d’éducation pour la santé : National Institute for Prevention and Health Education.) are organizing in autumn 2006, “les Etats généraux de l’alcool”, a citizens’ debate on issues relating to alcohol.
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Meeting of Minds, European Citizens’ Deliberation on Brain Science

Meeting of Minds is a two-year pilot project led by a European panel of 126 citizens. A consortium of technology assessment bodies, science museums, academic institutions and public foundations from nine European countries launched this initiative in 2004 with the support of the European Commission. It will give European citizens a unique opportunity to learn more about the impact of brain research on their daily lives and society as a whole and discuss their questions and ideas with leading European researchers. >>more


NanoDialogue

Project to engage the public in a debate on nanotechnologies and nanosciences.
The development of nanotechnologies and nanosciences (N&N) is still at an early stage, but the market for nanotechnology-based products is expected to rise to hundreds of billions of euro by 2010. NanoDialogue is a recently launched project to foster public debate on the developments of research in this field.
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NanoJury, a democtratic tool to influence how new technologies are developed

A citizens' jury is like a legal jury in that they will give a 'verdict' after being presented with information and perspectives from a range of different witnesses. The NanoJury UK brought together twenty randomly-chosen people from different backgrounds who heard evidence about a wide range of possible futures, and the role that nanotechnologies might play in them. >>more


Innovative European-wide citizens´ participation pilot project

European citizens' panel on the role of rural areas in European societies.
The Foundation for Future Generations (Belgium), the Charles Léopold Mayer Foundation (France/Switzerland), the Bernheim Foundation (Belgium), the Evens Foundation (France/Belgium/Poland) and the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust (UK) have initiated a project that will result in the creation of an innovative participatory tool, designed to...
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Nanologue

Europe-wide dialogue launched on benefits, risks and social, ethical and legal implications of nanotechnologies.
Nanologue, an European Commission-funded project, was launched in February 2005, bringing together leading researchers from across Europe to facilitate an international dialogue on the social, ethical and legal benefits and potential impacts of nanoscience and nanotechnologies.
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Nanopublic

Nanopublic, a two years project which started April 1st 2006, aims at setting up a platform of exchange and transdisciplinary investigation between the swiss nanotechnology stakeholders such as researchers in physical sciences, biomedicine and social sciences, firms, policy makers, NGOs and citizens. >>more



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