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Pathways Towards a More Inclusive Nanotechnology Development in Europe

In the past months, our team has been developing a roadmap which represents the final outcome of the NANO2ALL initiative. The document is addressed primarily to EU and national decision-makers in the science and technology field with competence in the domain of nanotechnology research and innovation (R&I) and outlines the challenges and opportunities for the development of nanotechnology in Europe within the framework of Responsible Research & Innovation (RRI). The roadmap highlights the conditions that have to be in place for enhanced inclusiveness (societal engagement) across the nanotechnology R&I value chains, and outlines recommended actions to help fulfil these conditions.

The roadmap conveys findings from the different NANO2ALL activities, principally from its participatory national and European dialogues (more information is here) and its case studies on past and current societal engagement practices in nanotechnology R&I (more information is here). The preliminary version of the roadmap was validated and enriched at the NANO2ALL Validation Symposium in Brussels on March 15th, 2019.

Through this final NANO2ALL newsletter you will learn more about the key points of the NANO2ALL roadmap, as well as about other ongoing and interesting initiatives.

We thank you for your interest in NANO2ALL and wish you good reading!



NANO2ALL - Nanotechnology Mutual Learning Action Plan for Transparent and Responsible Understanding of Science and Technology aimed to create a climate of dialogue and aspired to engage different societal groups (citizens, researchers, technology developers, policy makers, civil society organizations and journalists) in discussing how nanotechnology can result in socially desirable solutions and products through RRI uptake. It also debated how the involvement of the public and stakeholders can be increased in nanotechnology R&D, allowing such communities to contribute to shaping the future of these technologies. This 42-month initiative started in October 2015 and ended in March 2019. It received funding through the Horizon 2020 programme of the European Union (EU).

NANO2ALL was coordinated by Sociedade Portuguesa de Inovação (SPI, Portugal), and the consortium was composed of 11 other partners: Vilabs (Greece); MALSCH (The Netherlands); APRE (Italy); Ecsite (Belgium); NANOfutures (Belgium); EUSJA (France); EMRS (France); VU/VUmc (The Netherlands); UNINOVA (Portugal); SYSTASI (Greece) and JRC (Belgium).

NANO2ALL also integrated science centres that are members of Ecsite (The Bloomfield Science Museum, Jerusalem, TRACES, Innovatum Science Center, Bialystok University of Technology, MUSE, ICN2) and IDONIAL and CERTH linked to NANOfutures.

We would like to take an opportunity and express our gratitude to the European Commission and all stakeholders that have supported and contributed to co-creating and co-producing the NANO2ALL roadmap.

More information on NANO2ALL is available at www.nano2all.eu

NANO2ALL Roadmap: For a More Inclusive Nanotechnology Development in Europe


Over the past decades, awareness has grown that the impact of technologies is not always predictable, and unintended or unforeseeable consequences might occur. This unpredictability is inherent in the increasing complexity of new and emerging technologies (including nanotechnology) and their development processes. Inclusive approaches implemented under the terms of responsible research and innovation (RRI) can enable the identification and integration of inputs from stakeholders and the public into decision-making on research and innovation (R&I) allowing value-sensitivity and the right impact of technologies to increase.

A final product of NANO2ALL is a roadmap that integrates findings from its participatory and mapping activities (see Figure 1) and outlines trajectories and specific actions that should be undertaken to increase societal engagement across the nanotechnology R&I value chains.

The roadmap addresses primarily EU and national decision-makers in the EU Member States competent in areas of science and technology (with a focus on nanotechnology development where such decision-makers exist).


• There is a deeply-felt need for inclusiveness (societal engagement) and integration of societal perspectives in the nanotechnology R&I ecosystem
• Societal engagement approaches implemented over the past 15 – 20 years in Europe have not reached a full array of societal actors from different European contexts and often did not establish continuous interactions or trust-building between societal actors
• There is a need to extrapolate lessons learned from these initiatives to inform the future inclusive processes in nano- and other emerging technologies
• The proven role of independent intermediaries (for instance science centres, professional moderators, science communicators) in the facilitation of interactions on responsible nanotechnology development should be reinforced.
• The inclusion of societal representatives and their views should be enabled at certain stages of decision-making.
• Some expert feedback suggests that interactions should be established for tackling diverse topics and these are not always “nano-specific”.
• Several conditions have to be in place simultaneously, in order to truly enhance societal engagement across nanotechnology R&I value chains.


NANO2ALL found that there are three main conditions that have to be in place simultaneously in order to truly enhance societal engagement in nanotechnology R&I. The recommended trajectories and specific actions co-produced through the participatory & mapping activities address these conditions. Below you can find a short synopsis of the conditions and recommended trajectories. To read about the recommended actions under each trajectory, please click here.

Condition 1: Frameworks for systemised societal engagement in nanotechnology R&I

It is important to ensure the availability of dedicated frameworks (e.g. platforms and mechanisms) at EU and national levels – including regional and local, where relevant – that can facilitate systemised continuous interaction on a long-term basis between societal actors and R&I communities.


Trajectory 01: Evaluate past societal engagement activities in research and innovation in nanotechnology.

Trajectory 02: Adapt existing frameworks (or create new ones where not existing) to increase the involvement of all actors, including citizens and their representatives in research and innovation decision-making at all stages.

Condition 2: Lifelong participatory culture in science and society matters

Participatory culture of the members of our society (and of the representatives of their views) in scientific matters was frequently referred in the NANO2ALL participatory activities as being a key pre-requisite to increasing societal engagement into nanotechnology R&I. Citizens and society must be able to express their lifelong values, needs and concerns regarding science and technology from the outset and to participate in the co-design of policies and R&I which affect their lives. This will ensure that societal actors – including citizens – are willing (interested) and able to engage. 


Trajectory 01: Promote capacity-building and reflections on nano- and other new and emerging technologies via the formal education system.

Trajectory 02: Promote scientific culture and critical thinking on nano- and other new and emerging technologies among citizens via lifelong learning and science communication.

Condition 3: Open research and innovation ecosystem towards societal perspectives

The increased openness and responsiveness of the R&I ecosystem as a pre-condition for societal engagement was also found to be a main condition. The recommendations received suggest that the opening up of the system should be promoted by decision-makers by generating a genuine interest and motivation for RRI, rather than enforcement by top-down regulation, especially as regards the private sector. In addition, considering the costs, effort and time necessary to enable change, long-term measures should be considered first and foremost over short-term ones.


Trajectory 01: Foster RRI awareness and competence within the nanotechnology R&I community and incentivise the adoption of RRI by relevant institutions at regional, national and EU levels.


Download the NANO2ALL Roadmap

Full Version


Short Version

News from related initiatives


PRISMA has finished the road-mapping methodology in a way that integrates values and social impacts in innovation and product development, and promotes safe, trustworthy and sustainable technological progress. The methodology is the outcome of eight pilots in research and development (R&D) projects of companies that are all active in the transformative technologies. The process and know-how how to achieve societal goals and industrial success by integrating sustainability and responsibility approaches will be demonstrated at the event “Innovation meets Sustainability & Responsibility: The PRISMA Industrial Roadmap”, on June 27th at the Fondation Universitaire, Brussels. With a showcase PRISMA RRI/CSR roadmap results will be presented and discussed, by exploring connection with experiences in the areas of standardization & certification, and quality, risk, sustainability and innovation management. For more information: Maria Maia (ITAS-KIT): PRISMA-final-event@itas.kit.edu


The GoNano project has completed the first phase of its co-creation process. It has involved citizens and professional stakeholders in a facilitated dialogue on socially desirable and acceptable nanotechnology application in food, energy and health. Citizen values and needs are mostly connected to safety, the environment, human health and well-being, affordability, and accessibility of future technologies. The outcomes of the citizen workshop form design requirements for the professional stakeholders” (Hebakova et al. 2019). The second and final phase of the co-creation process kicks off with an online survey aiming to reach 100 citizens in each of the countries: Czech Republic, Denmark, Netherlands, Spain and the U.K. The online survey will provide validation and input to the first phase of the co-creation process. Read more on our events at: http://gonano-project.eu/category/news-events/


NANORIGO (NANOtechnology RIsk GOvernance) was initiated at the beginning of 2019 and it is coordinated by Aarhus University, involving other partners from across Europe. This 50-month, €4.7 million project will develop and implement a transparent, transdisciplinary and active “Risk Governance Framework (RGF)” for manufactured nanomaterials and nano-enabled products. The RGF will be developed through engagement with stakeholders across research, industry, regulation and civil society, and will be based on high-quality scientific data and tools for the physicochemical (pc) characterization of nanomaterials, and the assessment of exposure, hazard and risk for humans and the environment.


Society in Innovation and Science through CODEsign (SISCODE) is an EU-funded research project coordinated by Politecnico di Milano that researches and experiments with co-creation in the field of policy-making and Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI). Our co-creation labs, of which four are science museums, three fab-labs and three living labs, have embarked on a co-creation journey with a wide range of stakeholders to figure out new solutions for existing local societal challenges. They will not stop at the ideation phase as they have set high goals for making their solutions both feasible and exploitable. These experimentation phases will be a turning point for extracting the knowledge and expertise the project needs to create sustainable models of co-creation that are scalable and replicable. To learn more about what’s SISCODE and co-labs are up to, do so by reading our Newsletter#3


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The Nano2All project received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme, under the Grant Agreement Number 685931. This newsletter reflects only the author's view and the Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.


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