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Social Laboratories: Engaging with public dimensions of nanobiotechnology

Social Laboratories: Engaging with public dimensions of nanobiotechnology

This project is a collaboration between the Department of Geography and the Nanoscience Centre at the University of Cambridge. It explores the public dimensions of research in nanobiotechnology with the aim of understanding the relationships between science policy, public engagement and nanobiotechnology research in the UK.

Research in nanobiotechnology promises radical advances across the biomedical sciences, in particular in diagnostics, targeted drug delivery, and medical implants. Such developments raise important public questions about changing configurations of human health, the body and society.

The project investigates three themes:

  • How does science policy and practice configure scientific research at the intersection of nanotechnology and the biomedical sciences?
  • How does laboratory science configure the public dimensions of nanobiotechnology (focusing on health and the human body)?
  • How does research on the social aspects of science and public engagement interact with science policy and practice in the case of nanobiotechnology?

The project's research comprises three phases:

  • Study of UK science and innovation policy for nanobiotechnology;
  • In-depth study of three nanobiotechnology projects in an academic laboratory;
  • Development of reflection workshop methodologies for scientists and policy makers to articulate and respond to accounts of public issues raised by research in nanobiotechnology.

Advisory Group

A project advisory group will meet once a year.