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Expert stakeholders’ perception of nanotechnology: risk, benefit, knowledge, and regulation

Journal article
Authors Simon Larsson
Magnus Jansson
Åsa Boholm
Published in Journal of nanoparticle research
Volume 21
Issue 57
ISSN 1388-0764
Publication year 2019
Published at Gothenburg Research Institute (GRI)
School of Global Studies
Language en
Keywords Nanotechnology Experts Stakeholders Risk perception Risk psychology Regulations
Subject categories Nano Technology, Psychology


This study is positioned in a multidisciplinary research field addressing questions of innovation, foresight, risk perception, regulation, and the role of stakeholder experts as regards nanomaterials and nanotechnology. Nanotechnology is an innovative scientific field with many potential societal benefits but also high uncertainty about risks to human health and the environment. This study is based on a survey distributed to a sample of 237 expert stakeholders in Sweden working in the field of nanotechnology innovation and regulation. The sample comprises experts in both industry and government organizations. The paper explores the expert’s assessment of benefits, risks, and their views of nanotechnology regulation. The experts generally agreed on the need for further regulation of nanotechnology, although they differed in their support for different regulatory measures. Support for government regulation was increased by greater perceived risk and by ethical concerns, while perceived benefit decreased support for government regulation. If nanotechnology was important for the respondent’s organization of affiliation, support for government regulation decreased. Experts in government organizations were more in favor of stronger government regulation, perceived higher risks, and were more concerned about the ethical implications of nanotechnology than were the industry experts. While previous research has discussed views of experts, as well as comparing the attitudes of the general public with experts, this study contributes to the field by analyzing and identifying differences between industry experts and experts working in government.

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