Constructive technology assessment of emerging nanotechnologies: experiments in interactions

Douglas Keith Raymond Robinson

    Research output: ThesisPhD Thesis - Research UT, graduation UT

    570 Downloads (Pure)


    In January 2003, the Dutch R&D consortium NanoNed (at first supported by special NanoImpulse funding) started its work, and from the beginning it included a component on Technology Assessment and Societal Aspects of Nanotechnology, organized as an additional “flagship”, labelled TA NanoNed. The pre-history of the consortium is interesting in its own right. Important for the topic of this dissertation is that the proposal to have such a component on Technology Assessment and Societal Aspects of Nanotechnology was an initiative of the nano-scientists who pushed for the consortium, who had seen the discussions in the US and wanted to make sure that societal aspects of nanotechnology would be considered at an early stage. To begin with they invited Arie Rip (University of Twente), who had a record of working on technology assessment, to draw up a research program, building on the approach of Constructive Technology Assessment. That research program was the framework for the work presented in this dissertation. In this dissertation the empirical turn of constructive technology assessment is explored for newly emerging nanotechnologies. To achieve this, a number of tools have been developed, for example socio-technical scenarios, workshop orchestrations and multi-path mapping. A number of research approaches have been further tailored for newly emerging technologies, such as insertion in the nanoworld. Five constructive technology assessment exercises are presented in rich detail. Domains addressed in these exercises were drug delivery, lab-on-a-chip, deep-brain implants, molecular machines and responsible innovation. Douglas will continue to work on constructive forms of technology assessment, and future-oriented analysis of sociotechnical dynamics to support decision making, and do so in academia and as a consultant.
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Twente
    • Rip, Arie, Supervisor
    Award date25 Nov 2010
    Place of PublicationEnschede
    Publication statusPublished - 25 Nov 2010


    • IR-74640


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