After several months of public consultation, the European Commission has announced a Code of Conduct for Responsible Nanosciences and Nanotechnologies Research.
Europe is in the vanguard of the emerging field of nanosciences and nanotechnologies (N&N), a developing field of science with the potential for major positive impact economically, socially and environmentally. Nevertheless, knowledge gaps remain about the impact of these technologies on human health and the environment, as well as issues relating to ethics and the respect of fundamental rights. This is why the Commission is today recommending to the Member States to adopt a Code of Conduct to govern research in this field. Based around 7 general principles covering issues such as sustainability, precaution, inclusiveness and accountability, the Code of Conduct invites Member States to take concrete action, involving universities, research institutes and companies, for the safe development and use of nanotechnologies.
“Nanotechnologies and nanosciences could very well be the next revolution in enabling technologies, and Europe has a good track record in their development” said European Science and Research Commissioner Janez Potočnik. “Part of our strength is in the attention we are giving to their responsible development and use. The Code of Conduct is a tool developed by the Commission, after consulting with the public, that will make it very simple to address the legitimate concerns that can arise regarding nanotechnologies.”
What is contained in the press release seems very balanced and reasonable, but lacking in detail. Perhaps there is a link that I missed to the actual Code of Conduct document. It will be interesting to watch for specifics as the code gets implemented.