Meta-Regulation and Nanotechnologies: The Challenge of Responsibilisation Within the European Commission’s Code of Conduct for Responsible Nanosciences and Nanotechnologies Research

Barbel R. Dorbeck-Jung, Clare Shelley Egan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This paper focuses on the contribution of meta-regulation in responding to the regulatory needs of a field beset by significant uncertainties concerning risks, benefits and development trajectories and characterised by fast development. Meta-regulation allows regulators to address problems when they lack the resources or information needed to develop sound “discretion-limiting rules”; meta-regulators exploit the information advantages of those actors to be regulated by leveraging them into the task of regulating itself. The contribution of meta-regulation to the governance of nanotechnologies is assessed in terms of responsibilisation. Responsibilisation is regarded as a pre -requisite for regulatory actors to internalise social values (such as consumer safety and occupational health) and to ensure that these values are built into regulatory practice. In order to explore the potential of responsibilisation, the Code of Conduct for Responsible Nanosciences and Nanotechnologies Research launched by the European Commission in 2008 is evaluated. The Code is a good case of meta-regulation that aims to steer the self-regulation of nanotechnological business and research organisations. The paper concludes that, while efforts were made on the part of meta-regulators and self-regulators to contribute to responsibilisation, important opportunities for responsibilisation such as dissemination and promotion of the Code, trust-building activities, and failure to provide rewards, incentives and stakeholder guidance were not taken up. In order to foster responsibilisation within the meta-regulatory instrument of the EC Code, a number of crucial activities to be undertaken by meta-regulators are recommended
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-68
JournalNanoEthics
Volume7
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2013

Keywords

  • METIS-295856
  • IR-85549

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