Illinois Institute of Technology’s (IIT) Center on Nanotechnology and Society (Nano & Society) is developing a web-based global public policy document archive focused on nanotechnology’s ethical, legal and societal implications (NELSI). This initiative, NELSI Global, will soon be accessible through Nano & Society’s website.
NELSI Global will serve as a unified clearinghouse, enabling users to identify and access key public policy documents addressing the NELSI agenda. It will include international and U.S.-specific regulations, legislation, case law, congressional testimony, and key governmental reports.
“If even half of the expectations of nanotechnology are realized, it will lead to changes in every aspect of human life and, perhaps, human nature itself,” said Nigel M. de S. Cameron, Ph.D., director of Nano & Society, and associate dean and research professor of bioethics at Chicago-Kent College of Law. “So it is vital -- as Congress has said in funding the National Nanotechnology Initiative -- that alongside science research we look energetically at its implications for human society -- especially ethical implications and the impact on law and regulation. The context is global, and the challenge to the United States and every nation is to ensure that technology benefits us -- and has our confidence.”
The project was unveiled at Nano & Society’s most recent Chicago Nano Forum event, on January 30, 2006, at Chicago-Kent College of Law, which focused on nanotechnology’s legal and regulatory landscape. During phase one, the documents will be accessible through NELSI Global’s web-based menus, which are organized according to source, document type and topic. Search capabilities will be added to the archive in the second phase of development. NELSI Global will be updated and enhanced throughout 2006.