Regulating Nanotechnologies in the EU and US is a collaborative research project involving researchers from LSE, Chatham House|, Environmental Law Institute| and The Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies| at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Its goal is to investigate the regulatory challenges posed by nanotechnologies and to assess the effectiveness of existing approaches on both sides of the Atlantic. The project is innovative in taking a comparative perspective and in contributing to the early identification of regulatory methodologies and best practices that promote regulatory convergence between the EU and US.
Nanotechnology, a multidisciplinary field of applied science and engineering, allows the design and creation of objects at molecular scale (a nanometer is one billionth of a meter). With a rapidly expanding range of scientific and commercial applications, nanotechnologies have emerged as a new focus of EU and US regulatory efforts that seek to promote innovation while ensuring safety and enhancing public acceptability. Past developments in risk regulation, such as the case of agricultural biotechnology, have shown the importance of identifying technological risks and promoting international cooperation at an early stage in the policy process.
This project, which will result in the publication of a major report and a series of shorter papers (forthcoming in 2009), responds to the broader agenda on transatlantic regulatory harmonization set by the EU-US Summit of 30 April 2007. It is funded by a grant from the EU's 2007 budget to support pilot projects on "Transatlantic methods for handling global challenges", and its results are expected to feed into the policy recommendations that are to be presented to the EU-US Summit of 2010.