CNS Researchers Discuss Nano's Role in the Economcy

CNS Director Barbara Herr Harthorn and IRG 2 leader Richard Appelbaum lent substantive insight to a recent CQ Researcher report on the economic impacts of nanotechnology. The report, titled "Nanotechnology: Will the Science of Atom-Size Objects Reshape the Economy?" was published on June 10, 2013 and is available online to subscribers.

In the article, Harthorn is quoted explaining the attitudes of both the public and industry towards new nanotechnologies. Those in industry, said Harthorn, are concerned about safety risks, "but they are still averse to regulation." In focus groups conducted by her research group, which focuses on risk perception and social response, she said, members of the public were far more concerned about the economic benefits of new technologies as opposed to the health or safety risks.

Appelbaum, whose group studies the role of nanotechnology in globalization, spoke about China's efforts to create and commercialize nanoscale technology. China has "invested a lot of money, but most of the interviews that we've done there suggest that products are sort of small-scale and in preliminary stages,” said Appelbaum in the article. “A lot of the ventures involve partnerships, often with Chinese expats who've been in the United States [and] then have returned to China.” The research culture in the United States is still much more conducive to innovation, according to Appelbaum.

Founded in 1923, CQ Researcher provides in-depth reports on social policy issues.