CST: Government's progress on nanotechnology

24 October 2006

The Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering published its report Nanoscience and nanotechnologies: opportunities and uncertainties in July 2004. The study was commissioned by the UK Government and it published its response to the report in February 2006. The Government asked the Council for Science and Technology (CST) to review the progress Government had made against its response, two and five years after publication of this response.

The joint academies response to CST's call for evidence for its first review of Government's progress was drafted in consultation with members of the working group responsible for the 2004 report.  It highlights the academies' concern that the uncertainties about the potential impacts of nanoparticles on human health and environment discussed in the 2004 report have not been reduced in the past two years. The response states that directed funding to reduce these uncertainties is a vital step in ensuring nanotechnologies are well regulated technologies that inspire the confidence of both investors and the public. 

The response welcomes the Government's commitment to public engagement on this issue, but emphasises the need to build on what has been learnt so far and develop mechanisms for ensuring that outputs from engagement activities are taken into account in policy making.