Nanotechnology, Risk and Public Perceptions

Part of the The International Library of Ethics, Law and Technology book series (ELTE, volume 10)


In the past 10 years, a policy and media debate about nanoscience and nanotechnologies has emerged, characterised by competing visions of promise and threat (Selin 2007). For their advocates nanotechnologies are seen to have unprecedented economic and social potential, ushering in a ‘new industrial revolution’ that will include breakthroughs in computer efficiency, pharmaceuticals, nerve and tissue repair, surface coatings, catalysts, sensors, materials, telecommunications and pollution control (European Commission 2004; House of Commons Science and Technology Committee 2004; Lloyds 2007; Roco and Bainbridge 2003). Worldwide research funding for nanotechnologies has increased rapidly, with public investments in the US, Japan and the EU each topping $1 billion in 2005. Corresponding R&D investments by industry worldwide are around the same level, and increasing, with an average annual increase of approximately 25 %, year on year (Lux Research 2008; Renn and Roco 2007). The Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies as of August 2008 lists 620 consumer products on its inventory of nanotechnology-based consumer products, while Lux Research estimates that by 2015 the market for nanomaterials and processes will exceed $4.0 trillion (Lux Research 2008; Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies 2008).


Public Perception Public Attitude Public Engagement Science Fiction Average Annual Increase 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyDurham UniversityDurhamUK
  2. 2.Department of Science and Technology Policy, Institute of GeosciencesUniversity of Campinas – UNICAMPCampinasBrazil

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