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Nanologue Background Paper on selected nanotechnology applications and their ethical, legal and social implications

Funded under: FP6-NMP


Nanologue's overarching objective is to facilitate a dialogue among researchers, business and civil society about the benefits and potential impacts of nanoscience and nanotechnology applications.
The first work package of the project was designed to prepare the ground for the subsequent discussion, providing an overview of current research into the ethical, legal and social aspects (ELSA) of nanoscience and nanotechnologies (NT) and identifying applications to be scrutinised in depth with regard to ELSA in the course of the Nanologue project. This document is one of the two deliverables from the first work package.
This paper presents the main results of the research on ELSA for selected NT applications in the areas food, energy and medical diagnostics. The results are based on a broad and in depth literature analysis, input from the project's external advisory board (EAB) and other experts involved in the ongoing technology foresight studies of nanotechnologies.
The first chapter provides some background information on the Nanologue project. At first the issue why a dialogue is needed will be addressed. Second, the methodology used to select the NT applications and the set of ethical, legal and social aspects for the Nanologue project will be discussed. Finally, our understanding of nanoscience and nanotechnologies and ELSA will be introduced. The second chapter presents the main results of the screened application areas energy, food and medical diagnostics and their relationship to ELSA. Chapter 3 gives a brief project description of Nanologue as well as the role and the members of the External Advisory Board (EAB). The appendix provides a detailed description of the results summarised in the second chapter.

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