Centre for the Study of the Sciences and the Humanities
Research project

Development of a Platform for Deliberative Processes on Nanotechnology in the European Consumer Market (NANOPLAT)

The main idea behind this European (FP7 funded) project was to develop a platform for deliberative processes on Nano-science and Nano-technology (NS&T) in the European consumer market.

Vegetables, organic food test strip and the title Nanoplat project

Main content

Nanoethics was one of the four thematics areas in UiB's strategic focus on nanoscience, and SVT was also responsible for teaching nanoethics in UiB's study programmes in nanotechnology and nanoscience. The concept nanotechnology is used about a range of different technologies where vital components or processes occur on a nanometre scale. The research area was organized in separate research projects; of which NANOPLAT was among the most important.

The project concentrated on deliberative processes concerning human and environmental safety, ethical and moral dilemmas, and perceptions of risks and responsibilities as revealed through a focus on the market interfaces across the value chain of goods and services. That is, at the points of intersection between the sphere of production on the one hand and consumers on the other, where we believe research on the ethical, legal and social aspects (ELSA) of nanosciences and nanotechnology has to date been neglected. The project argued for the importance and relevance of this perspective within the development of deliberate democracy in Europe. The project was a support action, with the main goal to stimulate the deliberate dialogue in Europe and beyond, and give scientific support to the stakeholders responsible for this dialogue. Thus, the objectives were formulated in the following way:

  • Evaluate selected deliberative processes in Europe, both at the EU and national level. These evaluations will have both a general NS&T perspective, but will concentrate on the value chain of consumer goods and services.
  • Identify the needs and interests of relevant stakeholders along this value chain, especially focusing on producers, consumers, NGOs and the civil society.
  • Develop a deliberative and science based platform for a stakeholder dialogue in Europe and beyond in this area. The main elements of the platform are:
    • a) the content,
    • b) the participants,
    • c) the physical and technical solutions and arenas and
    • d) the responsibility for a permanent platform.
  • Formulate recommendations for research and political actions.

The work combined desk research, qualitative interviews and workshops to meet the challenges of these objectives, where the main task is to develop and sustain a deliberative platform.