If you’re a Foresight member, you’re already helping improve nanotechnology policy, but here’s another way: apply to participate in the upcoming online course Debating Science and The Nanotechnology Debate. In the syllabus (pdf), the actual course name appears to be “Debating Science: Practical Reasoning and Nanotechnology”:
For example, what is the current state of development of nanotechnologies? How does the current reality measure up to the promises being made by its most enthusiastic backers? What kind of social impacts will nanotechnology have? What will be its impact on the global economy? How will these benefits be shared among developed and developing countries? What types of nanotechnological development pose the greatest threats to environmental and biological health? Which developments pose the greatest threat to global political stability? What types of political institutions might nanotechnology change?…
A major portion of this course will be a group project. It consists of writing a policy document summarizing the course deliberation about global climate change. This project will be tied to the final learning outcome, for students develop the relevant skills of practical reasoning in relation to social and ethical controversies. Dissenting opinions will be allowed as appendices to the document but the document as a whole must be written with clear enough conclusions to be usable by policy makers.
Think such a document will have no influence? Think again. Policymakers are busy people; they like to build on (i.e., crib from) earlier work. (Credit: Nanowerk) —Christine