Nanotechnologies: Where should they take us? Have your say

Preliminary results of the analysis of the public opinion on our future with nanotechnologies

Opinion

Preliminary results of the analysis of the public opinion on our future with nanotechnologies

Fri, 13 Dec 2013
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NanOpinion is approaching the public and inviting citizens to fill in the questionnaire in outreach activities organized in 20 different locations across Europe. So far, 80 percent of our respondents have been reached  directly at a monitoring station or a streetlab, but also the internet, the portal and social media have played a more and more important role in directing our visitors to the questionnaire. More than 4.000 people from all age groups already responded so far, with a balanced number of females and males. NanOpinion has attracted young people, students, families with kids, and occasionally elderly and retired people, not only natives, but also tourists and foreigners. However, there is a need to find more of the elderly above 70 and the middle aged. As with the new school year our outreach activities in schools are taking place increasingly, we’ll watch out for parents of pupils as well.

Preliminary results show that definitely people vote for labelling products indicating if they were produced with nanotechnologies! Respondents to our questionnaire not only would like to have consumer products labeled, but would also like to have additional information, links to websites where a consumer could learn pros and cons including safety information and approval by an authority that checks and gives quality certificates.

However, consumer have a willingness to buy nano-products. They show an average acceptance of products, but no enthusiasm, nor extreme skepticism, but as already known from previous studies, when it comes to the body, there is more scepticism.

In general, when people are asked if they would like to have more information, the majority feels a strong need for more information. Accordingly, the information that facilitators at monitoring stations and streetlabs are giving to the audience, are crucial. Showing the products, some experiments and fields of application attract the interest of visitors. They want to get more in depth information on science in general, NT products in especial and all topics related to them, such as risks and benefits and long term impacts. Monitoring stations that offer more time and space for these discussions and more in depth debates are intended. To see Nanotechnology “in action” and to spend a little time in a NanOpinion “chill zone” could be an appropriate offer for our future audiences in different places across Europe.

The NanOpinion mobile stations already stopped at more than 20 different locations across Europe and experienced various sites: The stations were set up in the public space, at main or big squares of cities, pedestrian zones, parks, meadows or markets and also in semi-public spaces such as supermarkets and shopping malls. NanOpinion also took advantage of the vicinity of places of interest, where we could reach out for our audiences, e.g. yards and halls of museums and science centres, a zoo entrance or schools. The monitoring stations were also sometimes parts of festivals with different topics like science, art, fashion, food and literature! Also in terms of duration and time we have a huge variety of formats. Activities took place for a whole day or whole weekend, or two days in a row, only parts of a day, like afternoon or Saturday evening or even night, but some stations also lasted for one week or even longer. The kind and number of audiences and the peak times of their visits are naturally closely related to the nature of the locations of the different activities. 

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About nanopinion

  • nanopinion is an EC-funded project bringing together 17 partners from 11 countries with the aim of monitoring public opinion on what we hope from innovation with nanotechnologies. The project is aimed citizens with a special focus on hard-to-reach target groups, which are people who do not normally encounter and give their opinion nanotechnologies at first hand.
  • Dialogue is facilitated online and in outreach events in 30 countries presenting different participatory formats.
  • To promote an informed debate, we also run a strong press & social media campaign and offer a repository with more than 150 resources.
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