THE LOKA INSTITUTE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
COMMUNITY PARTICIPATION IN NANOTECHNOLOGY POLICY:
COMMUNITY WORKSHOP, SEPTEMBER 11, 2004
HOWARD UNIVERSITY IN WASHINGTON, D.C.
The historic 21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act of 2003 authorized up to $3.7 billion for research and development. The Act also requires public input to be integrated into the policymaking process on a regular basis through such methods as citizen panels, consensus conferences, and educational events.
The Loka Institute is sponsoring an all-day community workshop Saturday, September 11, at Howard University that convenes a dozen grassroots community activists from across the country to begin to identify major social, environmental, and ethical issues related to nanotechnology in which immediate public involvement is most urgently needed. The community group will also recommend next steps for the federal government and for Loka to effectively promote and sustain public participation in the evolution of nanotechnology policy, as a major new law requires.
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas will be honored at a Friday night reception that will open the forum at Howard University's Blackburn Center. Congresswoman Johnson has been selected by Loka as recipient of the first George E. Brown, Jr. Award for Leadership in Democracy, for the foresight, initiative, and leadership she provided in proposing and supporting a legal provision requiring strong public participation in federal policymaking on nanotechnology.
On Saturday, brief morning presentations by a panel of five nanotechnology experts will be followed by a chance for the community task force to ask questions of the nano experts and then engage in sustained discussion of the most pressing societal and ethical issues. The afternoon session will include brief presentations by an advisory panel with federal policy expertise. After discussion, the community group will recommend next steps. Observers at the workshop will also have an opportunity to provide input on urgent issues and what the next steps should be to increase public participation in nanotechnology policy.
The press is invited to interview both community participants as well as the nanotechnology and policy specialists. Call for information on best times.
TIME AND LOCATION: Saturday, September 11, 9 am - 5 pm - Forum Room, Blackburn Center, Howard University, 2397 6th St., NW, Washington, DC. Friday reception at 7 p.m. at the Blackburn Center.
ABOUT LOKA INSTITUTE - The Loka Institute is a non-profit research and advocacy organization that advocates for greater public participation in the politics of research, science, and technology. (For more information, see Loka's website, www.loka.org)
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For more information on the DEMOCRATIC POLITICS OF TECHNOLOGY see the section on Using Democratic Criteria in Participatory Technology Decisions on this web site.