As a nonprofit public foundation with the goal of promoting beneficial nanotechnology, Foresight Institute has included the development of public policy recommendations in its work since the beginning. Current work focuses on the Foresight Nanotech Challenges and public policy tools that can affect them, especially issues in intellectual property and research funding.
In our policy work we implement our organization’s values of openness, good science, and respect for public involvement. We attempt to take a moderate, non-partisan stance, examining both expected benefits and possible downsides to technology and suggesting ways to maximize the former and minimize the latter. Our timeframe of interest is broader than some other participants in the nanotech policy debates, ranging from near term to very long term.
Policy development within Foresight begins with an informal process of consensus through discussion among the board, staff, advisors, members, and the public, both online and at our annual conferences. Based on established scientific fact and projected technological possibilities, we develop potential scenarios and policy options likely to affect these in positive ways. We then spread and test these ideas by interacting with the public, researchers, and policymakers via the web, lectures, testimony, journal articles, and white papers.
Foresight welcomes proposals for policy projects from other organizations and individuals. Rather than a formal application, we request an informal email to giving the proposed topic, author(s), collaborating organization(s) if any, and suggestions on sources of grants or other funding to support the work. We especially welcome collaborative projects.
Sample work on Foresight Nanotech Challenges and related public policy issues by Foresight directors, staff, and associates: