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VigilanceNanos - What role for civil society?

What role for civil society?

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The population is still relatively uninformed of developments in nanotechnology, which nevertheless affects everyone's future. the soft focus and complexity from the nano domain1The term “nanotechnology” is a catch-all word which covers different realities. As pointed out by the association Science and Democracy in 2010, this term "adds a layer of complexity to the work of explanation necessary to allow the citizen to appropriate the subject, especially since its definition is still the subject of debate between specialists". and I'opacity that surrounds public decisions such as the processes used by industrialists hinder the transparency that would be necessary for a democracy in the authentic sense of the term.

In 2009-2010, the national public debate on nanotechnology organized in France revealed the difficulties of dialogue between citizens, administrations, researchers and industrialists on nanos. Citizens have little access to the elements that have led, or will lead, to choices relating to the orientations and funding of research, development and commercialization of nanotechnologies/nanomaterials.

The association AVICENN, via the information it makes available to everyone on this site and social networks, seeks to fill the lack of transversal, readable and independent information on nanos and to facilitate the identification of key players and places where important choices are made in this vast and complex field. So that the decisions are not confiscated from citizens, we seek to provide them with the tools necessary to understand the key issues so that they can, if they so wish, take part in the debates, influence the decisions that are made and act in full knowledge of the facts.

Other players or programs show a desire to involve citizens or "the public" in the nanotechnology governance, with nevertheless sometimes a risk of instrumentalization of the latter. Vigilance is key. Indeed, if public consultations and debates have made it possible to inform a wider circle – but nevertheless still largely insufficient – ​​of citizens, their conditions of implementation are often subject to controversy and their recommendations have had little effect(s). )… It is more through the mobilization of civil society organizations2See Xi Wang, Revisiting “upstream public engagement” in nanotechnology: from the perspective of the public sphere, Library and information sciences. Paul Sabatier University – Toulouse III, 2015. that their questions and recommendations can be brought, initially at least, to decision-making places.

The next nano meetings

“Nano and Health” dialogue committee (ANSES, Maisons-Alfort)
Dialogue Committee
  • 14th meeting of the “nano and health” dialogue committee
  • Organizer: ANSES
  • Website :
Nanomaterials, how to identify them more efficiently? (LNE, Paris)
  • Technical Day
  • Organizer: National Metrology and Testing Laboratory (LNE)
  • On the agenda: identification of nanomaterials, recent technological innovations in terms of particle size characterization, areas for progress to be considered 
  • Upcoming program
  • Website :…
NanoSafe conference 2023 (CEA, Grenoble)
  • 8th International Conference on Health Issues for a Responsible Approach to Nanomaterials
  • June 5-9, 2023
  • Organizer: Commissariat for Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies (CEA)
  • Website :…  

Notes & references

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