Cross-IRG (X-IRG) Integrative Projects

In addition to the main body of CNS research conducted within the IRGs, a number of strategic projects that span two or more IRGs or represent special initiatives designed to respond to rapidly emerging issues of interest in technology and society were initiated. These “Cross-IRG” (X-IRG) projects contributed to the integration of efforts across the IRGs and to the synthesis of key interests. They also included eight projects initiated by CNS Faculty Seed Grants on Societal Issues for New Technologies.

The Social Life of Nanotechnology

The Social Life of Nanotechnology is an edited volume published by Routledge in June, 2012 and co-edited by anthropologist/CNS Director Harthorn and sociologist and cultural theory expert Mohr, a collaborator in the CNS; CNS Board Co-Chair Seely Brown authored a foreword for the volume. The volume is an integrated product reflecting the full range CNS-UCSB nanotechnology in society work from the first 5 years of research, a unique product in the nanotechnology in society publication realm. To quote from the text: “The Social Life of Nanotechnology starts from the basic premise, developed throughout the text, that nanotechnologies have an under-theorized and often invisible social life that starts with the very concept of ‘nanotechnology’ itself which, as we show in the volume, takes on a wide range of socio-historically specific meanings around the globe, across multiple localities, institutions and collaborations, through diverse industries, research labs, and government agencies and on into a variety of discussions within the public sphere itself."

Solar Futures: Science and Business Life in the Race against Climate Change; States of Innovation

This Strategic Project, led by innovation system scholar Newfield, combined a new and evolving innovation model with broad sector analysis of solar trends and norms, with empirical case studies of particularly innovative organizations. Newfield’s team first developed a “Lyon Model” for post-linear national innovation systems, based on an international workshop they convened in Lyon, France in April 2010 with leading experts from around the world on impediments to national innovation systems. They have disseminated the model through a range of publications and an innovation theory website ( which is linked to the main CNS website.

Spatial Analysis and the Global Value Chain for Nanotechnology/Nano in California

This project entailed value chain mapping of California and the United States in the global nanotechnology economy. Objectives included identifying firms working in each stage of the supply chain from nanomaterials through end-markets, analyzing the impact of value chain dynamics in each stage such as policies, risk, perception, and competitiveness factors, and evaluating how these are linked together in California and how California compares to competing geographies. Outcomes include the California in the Nanotechnology Global Economy website accessible at:

Nanotech in Print Media

The study of print media framing of nano in the renewal award period was conducted primarily by collaborator Friedman at Lehigh University and her team. Friedman and Egolf have developed an extensive coding system for analyzing print media coverage of nano. Friedman supplements the print media report analysis with depth interviews with journalists to provide depth understanding of the changing media environment for risk reporting and communication of scientific uncertainty, and new analysis of Google News and an online media source (the New Haven Independent) that has had a particular focus on nano risk issues.

Ethnographic Explorations of Nanoscience and Nanotoxicology Laboratories

From 2009-2010, CNS Postdoctoral Researcher, Mikael Johansson, worked with IRG 1 and IRG 3 leaders McCray and Harthorn to conduct extensive laboratory ethnographic research in nanoscience and nanotoxicology labs in the US, a comparative base for his doctoral research in nanoscience laboratories in Sweden.

Framing Nanotechnology in Social Media

In this project, graduate students Stocking and Hasell sought to measure how much public engagement related to nanotechnology occurs on social media. Social media has had an increased role as a conduit for delivering information to the public, but it also provides new opportunities for bi-directional communication between the science community and science-interested publics. It also creates opportunities for individuals uninterested in nanotechnology to be exposed to it incidentally. Finding new ways to effectively engage with the public is an important goal of both CNS and the NSF.

CNS Faculty Seed Grants on Societal Issues for New Technologies

In order to generate new research and/or engagement projects that involved new UCSB faculty participants in the CNS who would contribute to furthering the mission of the CNS, CNS was awarded two Supplements, in 2012 and 2013, to fund two waves of a seed grant program at UCSB. The first round of competition in Fall, 2012, resulted in four projects awarded in Spring 2013. Four additional seed grants were awarded in the second round in Spring 2014. Descriptions of these eight projects can be found on the Seed Grants Programs page.