NanOpinion – Engaging beyond the scientific community

Bereich: Technik & Wissen

Doubtless, nanotechnology will change the future of medicine and have a great impact on people engaged in the field. Not only will it be of essential importance to know the latest research developments and their applications, but it will also be necessary to understand how to communicate about new nanotechnology treatments to patients. This will especially be the case since new technologies often create fear and resistance. Thus, it is important to understand people’s levels of knowledge and, more importantly, how they form opinions on subjects that they are unfamiliar with (for instance, nanotechnologies). This was one of the main questions that the NanOpinion project sought to answer while offering a broad range of outreach and engagement activities to the general public. At the same time, these activities allowed the collection of over 8,000 questionnaires across Europe. The questionnaires were analysed together with workshop and activity protocols and opinion polls. The results confirmed that the multi-channel approach provided the necessary elements for opinion-forming: as nanotechnologies cannot, for the most part, be regarded as an area of interest per se, other relevant topics of interest (e.g. health, food) have to be linked to them. Then engagement activities in which people follow up on this interest can occur (e.g. at health care centres, in waiting areas). A range of activities tailored for the target group have to be offered. They should allow for participation on different levels according to people’s interests, time resources, and prior knowledge.

Still, information has to be provided in a balanced way to avoid the biased overemphasis of the benefits or risks of nanotechnologies. By communicating with the patient in a meaningful way, it is possible to help him or her understand the risks and benefits and put him or her in a better position to make responsible decisions.

AutorInnen: Handler, K., Marschalek , i., Schrammel, M., Hofer, M.


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Tags: nanotechnology, participation, science communication

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Kategorie: Proceedings

Publikations Datum: 2015

Bezug: Online (download)