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[en] This study is positioned in a multidisciplinary research field addressing questions of innovation, foresight, risk perception, regulation, and the role of stakeholder experts as regards nanomaterials and nanotechnology. Nanotechnology is an innovative scientific field with many potential societal benefits but also high uncertainty about risks to human health and the environment. This study is based on a survey distributed to a sample of 237 expert stakeholders in Sweden working in the field of nanotechnology innovation and regulation. The sample comprises experts in both industry and government organizations. The paper explores the expert’s assessment of benefits, risks, and their views of nanotechnology regulation. The experts generally agreed on the need for further regulation of nanotechnology, although they differed in their support for different regulatory measures. Support for government regulation was increased by greater perceived risk and by ethical concerns, while perceived benefit decreased support for government regulation. If nanotechnology was important for the respondent’s organization of affiliation, support for government regulation decreased. Experts in government organizations were more in favor of stronger government regulation, perceived higher risks, and were more concerned about the ethical implications of nanotechnology than were the industry experts. While previous research has discussed views of experts, as well as comparing the attitudes of the general public with experts, this study contributes to the field by analyzing and identifying differences between industry experts and experts working in government.
[en] Ethical and societal issues concerning justice, safety, risks, and benefits are well-established topics in the discourses of nanotechnology innovation and development. That nanotechnology innovation should be socially and ethically responsible is generally accepted by scientists, policymakers, regulators, and industry, and the idea of public involvement and communication is part and parcel of the conceptualization of responsible technology development. This paper systematically reviews the social science research literature accumulated between 2002 and 2018 on the communication of nanotechnology. A critical and constructivist perspective on policy problems guides the analysis. Two questions are asked of this literature: what problems are identified regarding the communication of nanotechnology to the public? How can these problems be managed and/or resolved? Three different problem themes are identified: the public, societal institutions, and nanotechnology itself. While for some identified problems, there are corresponding solutions; in other instances, there is little alignment between problems and solutions. In conclusion, the paper recommends that in communicating nanotechnology to the public: (i) the objectives of communication should be defined; (ii) previous research should be used responsibly; (iii) communication strategies should be adapted to the context; and (iv) effort should not be spent trying to develop a generic framework for communication.