Science, Technology and Society Initiative Launches Nanotech Workshops
These polymer fibers, nearly one
hundred times finer than a human
hair, were prepared by an
electrospinning process using an
electric field. Because they are so
thin and drawn out, these nanoscopic
fibers are finding uses for
printing media, like paper.
What are the critical issues for policy makers and society emerging from the nanotechnology revolution? To address this challenge, the Science, Technology and Society (STS) Initiative has brought together a team representing five research centers and seven degree-granting departments and programs in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences (SBS). The STS Nanoscience and Society Research Group (NanoSRG) is part of a $16 million award from the National Science Foundation and a $7 million investment by the university and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts that established the Center for Hierarchical Manufacturing (CHM) at UMass Amherst. With this award, the STS Initiative is organizing research and a series of international workshops to contribute to the policy debate.
The STS Initiative has won a $14,626 Research Leadership in Action (RLA) Grant from UMass Amherst's vice provost for research to expand the scope of the first international workshop, “Nanotechnology and Society: the Organization and Policy of Innovation,” scheduled for Thursday, May 17, 2007. Key topics include the organization and economics of nanotechnology research and development; the role of media in forming public opinion and policy; technological innovation and dispute resolution; and visual perception of nanoscale phenomena. A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter; DNA is 2 ½ nanometers in diameter.
Invited speakers include John Armstrong, vice president of the UMass Amherst Foundation, member of the CHM Advisory Board, and former vice president for science and technology for IBM; David Rejeski of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars; Geoff Cooper, University of Surrey, United Kingdom; and Howard Gadlin of the National Institutes of Health. The workshop and discussions are designed primarily for leaders drawn from government, universities, business, and nonprofits.
The STS Initiative is a collaborative research effort and strategic priority of the College of Social and Behavior Sciences. The unique level of involvement in the STS Initiative of SBS faculty from a wide range of disciplines including political science, public policy, sociology, economics, psychology, anthropology, communication, legal studies, natural resources conservation and history provides multiple opportunities for collaborative research partnerships with physical and natural scientists and engineers. Based in the Center for Public Policy and Administration, the STS Initiative focuses on multi-disciplinary, policy oriented challenges at the frontiers of science and technology. The STS Initiative boasts one of the broadest interdisciplinary research groups in the country.
March 29, 2007