Stakeholder engagement and dialogue are essential to the responsible development of nanotechnologies in Europe. The European FP7 project NanoDiode establishes an innovative, coordinated programme for outreach and dialogue throughout Europe so as to support the effective governance of nanotechnologies. The project integrates vital engagement activities along the innovation value chain, at the levels of research policy, research & development (R&D), and the use of nanotechnological innovations throughout society.
Importantly, NanoDiode combines ‘upstream’ public engagement (by way of dialogues that integrate societal needs, ideas and expectations into the policy debate) with ‘midstream’ engagement (by organising innovation workshops at the level of the R&D practices that are at the heart of the research and innovation enterprise) and ‘downstream’ strategies for communication, outreach, education and training.
The consortium brings together a strong network of partners from various backgrounds and extending across Europe, representing technological and social research, industry, policy, civil society, education and media. Many partners bring with them their experience as coordinators or participants in earlier European nano-related projects within the NMP and Science in Society programmes. This will allow the project to look back and identify best practices based on existing experience and make use of existing products and tools that have proven to be successful, and developing new, innovative models and tools for outreach and dialogue when necessary.
The project will also look ahead towards Horizon 2020 and operationalise the concept of Responsible Research and Innovation. As Horizon 2020 unfolds, the project’s findings will feed into nanotechnology policy debates, R&D, outreach and dialogue activities on nanotechnologies.