RMIT is part of a multi-institution consortium awarded a prestigious European Union Horizon 2020 (H2020) research and innovation grant worth €2M and focused on nanotechnology development.
The project is focused on engaging citizens to help shape the development of nanotechnologies, which refer to the science and engineering of materials on a scale smaller than a micrometre.
Researchers Paul Wright, Arnan Mitchell and Bryce Feltis, from RMIT’s College of Science, Engineering and Health, are involved in the three-year project, which is called GoNano - Governing nanotechnologies through societal engagement.
RMIT’s work on the project will be delivered at RMIT Europe, the University’s European hub in Barcelona.
The 10-member consortium is led by the Danish Board of Technology Foundation and includes research centres, industry groups and universities in the Netherlands, Czech Republic, Norway, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Ireland and Spain.
One of RMIT’s academic partners, the University of Twente, is also a member.
RMIT project lead and nanosafety expert Associate Professor Paul Wright said that the work is designed to connect research and innovation with public values, needs and concerns with the idea that input from all stakeholder levels is essential for responsible nanotechnology development.
“Smart and sustainable development of nanotechnology includes the safe-by-design approach and ethical and societal considerations.
“This approach is essential to fully realise the potential benefits of nanotechnology to improve our health and the production and utilisation of energy, water and food.
“Governance of nanotechnologies requires the involvement of societal engagement to address public concerns about how nano-products may affect them, their environment and workplace, and also how they are controlled, regulated and labelled.
“This project involves citizen and stakeholder workshops, and development of webinars, guidelines and information kits. It is an important step in establishing an ongoing process that fosters responsible research and innovation in nanotechnologies.”
Story: Karen Matthews