Without an improved governance structure, the benefits of
nanotechnology may be difficult to fully realize because the public
will not trust the cutting-edge technology, says David Rejeski,
director of the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies (PEN).
Rejeski testifies on Thursday, April 24, before the Senate subcommittee
on technology and innovation.
“Public trust is the ‘dark
horse’ in nanotechnology’s future,”
states Rejeski in his testimony. “If government and industry
do not work to build public confidence in nanotechnology, consumers may
reach for the ‘No-Nano’ label in the future and
investors will put their money elsewhere. Public perceptions about
risks—real and perceived—can have large economic
impacts. For example, the European Union’s ban on genetically
modified foods, driven largely by public concerns, cost American
farmers an estimated $300 million annually in lost sales and much more
in products that never made it to the marketplace.”
Congressional lawmakers are currently discussing amendments to
and reauthorization of the 21st Century Nanotechnology Research
& Development Act, which helps sets the roadmap for the annual
$1.5 billion federal spending on nanotechnology research that is vital
to ensuring the technology’s success.
What: Senate Commerce, Science & Transportation
Committee Subcommittee on Science, Technology and Innovation hearing
“National Nanotechnology Initiative: Charting the Course for
When: April 24, 2008, 2:30 p.m.
Where: Russell Senate Office Building Room 253, Washington, DC
Who: David Rejeski directs the Project on Emerging
Nanotechnologies. For the past eight years, he has also been the
Director of the Foresight and Governance Project at the Woodrow Wilson
Center. He has held various positions at the White House Council on
Environmental Quality (CEQ), the White House Office of Science and
Technology (OSTP), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). He
sits on the advisory boards of a number of organizations, including
EPA’s Science Advisory Board. He has graduate degrees in
public administration and environmental design from Harvard and Yale.