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Missing links in nanomaterials governance: bringing industrial dynamics and downstream policies into view
journal contributionposted on 2023-06-07, 22:01 authored by Ismael Rafols, Patrick Van Zwanenberg, Molly Morgan, Paul NightingalePaul Nightingale, Adrian SmithAdrian Smith
In this article we explore some of the analytical and policy implications of widening the focus of nanomaterials governance from risk regulation to the broader issue of the purposeful direction of the innovation process. We focus on the impact of industrial activities on nanotechnology governance, arguing that the specific characteristics of the industrial dynamics of nanomaterials—flexibility in applications and distributed innovation—limit and enable different potential interventions to shape technology. In particular, these characteristics exacerbate the difficulties of attempting to directly influence innovation trajectories. Under these conditions, we argue that policies for nanomaterials governance need to be broadened. The prevailing emphasis in the UK on policy initiatives ‘upstream’ in the R&D process, while commendable, should be complemented with policies aimed further ‘downstream’ at potential users of nanomaterials, such as renewable energy procurement or housing regulations in order to modulate technological development towards socially desirable goals.
JournalJournal of Technology Transfer
Department affiliated with
- SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit Publications
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