Nanotechnology Project


Nanotechnology: A Research Strategy for Addressing Risk

Wednesday July 19, 2006 • 12:30-1:30 P.M.

Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars 5th Floor Conference Room

An estimated $32 billion worth of products incorporating nanotechnology were sold last year, and the U.S. government projects that nanotechnology will have a $1 trillion impact on the global economy by 2015.

But according to Lux Research, one of the biggest challenges facing companies commercializing nanotechnology innovations is managing potential environmental, health, and safety (EHS) risks. Very little is known about these possible risks, and current nanotechnology risk research efforts lack the strategic focus, priorities, and funding necessary to provide answers to critical EHS questions.

Nanotechnology: A Research Strategy for Addressing Risk is a new report by Dr. Andrew Maynard, chief science advisor of the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies, which proposes for the first time a comprehensive framework for systematically exploring nanotechnology’s possible risks. The report moves beyond a general call for more nanotechnology risk research to recommend how this research should be prioritized and implemented – who should do what, when, and how.

The report argues for a top-down strategic research framework within the U.S. federal government. It recommends a shift in leadership and funding to federal agencies with a clear mandate for oversight and for EHS research, and proposes a major increase in U.S. government spending over the next two years on highly relevant, targeted risk-based research to address critical research needs.