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NANO2ALL was a program to engage the public in deliberating values and needs in relation to nanotechnology and outline recommended changes to policymakers. The program operated for more than 3 years and involved a series of 13 dialogue events held in 6 different countries. Their approach to dialogue had three phases: national citizen dialogues, national multi-stakeholder dialogues, and a final European stakeholder dialogue. The national dialogues each covered slightly different topics. In Poland and Italy, they discussed nanotextiles, in Israel and Sweden they discussed nanomedicine, and in France and Spain they discussed nano-enabled brain-computer interfaces. The citizen dialogues each included approximately 12 participants. The dialogue sessions started off in a playful way, with participants imagining their own nanotechnologies and relaying narratives that illustrated the potential consequences of such technology. These narratives were represented on posters, which were later used in the stakeholder dialogues. Each citizen dialogue event also identified core values, needs, and concerns about nanotechnology.

The national multi-stakeholder dialogues focused on addressing the question: “How [can we] better identify and integrate societal perspectives in nanotechnology research and innovation processes?” Participants in this dialogue were recruited by science centers and included a range of expertise including policymakers, industry representatives, and nanoscientists, as well as representatives from the citizen dialogue. Part of these dialogues was used for a Scenario Exploration Game in which participants played roles and decided on actions in a fictional 15-year scenario. One participant played the role of the public voice, which gave feedback to the players after each round. This game was meant to prime participants to think about strategies to align scientific and societal values and needs with one another. At the end of the day, they discussed the actions they could take to better identify and integrate societal perspectives. The reflections from the national citizen and multi-stakeholder dialogues were gathered into a report shared with the European Commission.

The final European dialogue event included participants from the national citizen and stakeholder dialogues, as well as new stakeholder participants. The first part of the day was devoted to exploratory discussion about responsiveness to societal feedback in various future scenarios, and the second focused on identifying concrete actions to make nanotechnology research more responsive. Read the process of the final dialogue and the thoughts generated by it.

Location: European Union
Author(s)/Organization: European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme, Sociedade Portuguesa de Inovação, Vrije Universiteit (VU), The European network of science centres and museums (Ecsite)


Attributes:Aims for Action
Outcomes:Ethical Decision-Making
Approaches:Dialogue & Deliberation
Type:Program Examples