Nanopodium is a platform for exchanging thoughts, ideas, opinions and best practices on nanotechnology. The aim is to stimulate a public dialogue about the opportunities and threats of nanotechnology and resulting applications with regard to individuals and society as a whole.
Nanopodium is an initiative of the independent Committee for the Societal Dialogue on Nanotechnology in the Netherlands (CMDN).
The Committee was founded on 31 March 2009 to stimulate the debate on nanotechnology and develop public opinion in this area, more specifically on the social and ethical issues involved. While the debate on nanotechnology, its opportunities and risks, has been going on for a number of years, this discussion has to date been limited to a small circle of specialists and organisations. The Dutch government has therefore decided to stimulate a broader societal dialogue.
The independent Committee has been asked to initiate a broad, societal dialogue in which different views can be expressed freely. This will be achieved by inviting individuals and organisations to propose activities to stimulate the dialogue.
The results of the societal dialogue – starting in December 2009 and lasting one year – will be evaluated by the end of 2010 and will lead to into an Agenda for Nanotechnology, which will be presented to the Dutch government.
The Agenda for Nanotechnology will be used as an important input for Dutch policies on nanotechnology and its applications. Research institutes and companies will probably also make good use of the results of the societal dialogue to develop their own strategic agenda.
During the first call for project proposals, held in October 2009, the Committee received 80 proposals, of which they took 73 into consideration. Of the 44 projects asked to submit a full proposal, 21 were selected; the funding budget is 2.5 million euro.
The projects – to be carried out during the coming six months – are divided into five groups: television programmes, publications for a broad audience, activities for secondary school children, science cafes/debates, and other.
A second call for proposals has been closed on 8 February 2010.
‘The Committee Societal Dialogue Nanotechnology (CieMDN) offered its final report: “Responsibly onwards with nanotechnology; findings March 2009-January 2011” (in Dutch) to the Dutch government on the 27th of January 2011. The tasks of the committee ended on 1st of March 2011. From this point on it is up to the stakeholders to further continue a dialogue on nanotechnology.”