Home / The Nano Debate / Beyond Just Consultation

Beyond just consultation

There have been a number of interesting and useful public consultations in the recent past, where the government and others - such as the consumer group Which?, the Royal Society, and the Research Councils (who decide what scientific research gets done in the UK) - have consulted the public about their views on nanotechnologies in general. In fact the UK is considered to lead the world in this - what is called Public Engagement.

But we want to move beyond the sort of debate where people are consulted just so that someone knows what they think and their opinion may or may not be taken into consideration. We have a vision that we can all have a real say in how nanotechnology develops through input to the direction of research and helping shape government and business thinking on specific nano areas.

An excellent example of this type of engagement is a recent consultation run by the EPRSC (the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council) who wanted to understand public concerns and identify public priorities to help them decide on the best way to spend public money researching healthcare applications of nanotechnologies.

The opinions of the general public who were consulted actually made a significant difference to the direction of research into nano and healthcare and marks an important milestone in public engagement in science.

Click here to see a more detailed review of the consultation provided by the EPSRC.

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