Last week, we told you about an exciting Participatory Nanotech Event being planned for October 1, 2005, in Austin, Texas.
Yesterday, Chris and I got to spend a long time on the phone with Dr. Leslie Jarmon, organizer of the STS Civic Forum on the Societal Implications of Nanotechnology. She explained to us in detail how the program will be handled. It's an ambitious project, to say the least, and if it succeeds the results could be highly useful.
This participatory civic event, the first large-scale nanotechnology event of its kind in the world, is designed to set standards for effective stakeholder engagement of nanotechnology's societal opportunities and challenges. . . Through this event, organizers seek to bring all critical stakeholders together, including government and policy makers; local area businesses, especially those who actively participate in nanotechnology, as well as the industry's innovators and entrepreneurs; academia, scientists, and students; and the general public.
That's from the website of the Science, Technology, & Society Program (STS) at the University of Texas at Austin, headed up by Elizabeth Keating.
Dr. Jarmon told us that they are hoping to involve 400 (!) participants in their all-day civic forum. They are seeking a precise mix of 30% from academia (faculty and students), 30% from the private sector (business execs), 10% from the public sector (governments and NGOs), and 30% from the general public.
On-Line registration will begin on August 15, 2005. Participation (including lunch) is FREE, but advance registration is required and you must commit to stay for the full day (9:00-3:30). Here's more:
In the Civic Forum's critical "Nano Scenario", the 400 participating stakeholders come together in an experiential activity grounded in research based on the potential benefits of nanotechnology, its uncertainties and risks, the complexity of the issues, and the roles of the individuals involved. The forum model deepens the stakeholders' understanding of different perspectives and creates the conditions for the emergence of new forms of enlightened civic engagement and decision-making for communities, counties, states, and the national government.
As we said before, this is an impressive undertaking. Dr. Jarmon and her team are working hard to make this largest ever nanotech policy forum a big success. We'll keep you posted.