Nanotechnology policy review announced by UK government

July 7, 2006

London, 6 July 2006

Call for Evidence

The Council for Science and Technology (CST) has been asked by Government to review progress of its commitments on nanotechnology policy, and today issued an invitation for written evidence.

The independent review will cover the Government's actions in the two years since their response to the Royal Society/Royal Academy of Engineering report "Nanoscience and nanotechnologies: opportunities and uncertainties".

The review will be led by Professor Sir John Beringer, who said: "How the Government is handling issues of nanotechnology and nanoscience will influence the UK's competitiveness in this rapidly growing field, and the public's confidence in Government science policy.

"We will be taking a close look at what the Government has done, whether it has responded quickly enough, and how well prepared it is for new developments in nanotechnology."

Comments are being invited on:
* The extent to which the Government has taken forward the commitments described in its Response.
* The timeliness and effectiveness of the actions taken by Government.
* Whether there have been significant developments in nanoscience/nanotechnology since February 2005 which raise new issues the Government did not address in its Response, and should now.

Notes for editors

1. The Council for Science and Technology (CST) is the UK government's top-level advisory body on science and technology policy issues, appointed by the Prime Minister. It is co-chaired by Sir David King, the government's Chief Scientific Adviser, and Sir Keith Peters.

2. The review will be published in spring 2007. Written submissions will be accepted until 2 October 2006. A copy of the Call for Evidence is attached.

3. Further information from: Jonathan Radcliffe, Deputy Secretary to the Council for Science and Technology, telephone 020 7215 6579, email jonathan.radcliffe@dti.gsi.gov.uk.

Nanoscience and nanotechnologies: opportunities and uncertainties
Two-year review of progress on Government actions

Government's response

Call for Evidence

In July 2004 the Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering jointly published a Report 'Nanoscience and nanotechnologies: opportunities and uncertainties', to which the Government responded in February 2005.

The Council for Science and Technology will be reviewing the Government's progress after two years in taking forward the actions it set out in the Response, and assessing the implications of any new developments.

As part of the Review, the Council is asking for written submissions on the following issues:
* The extent to which the Government has taken forward the commitments described in its Response.
* The timeliness and effectiveness of the actions taken by Government.
* Whether there have been significant developments in nanoscience/nanotechnology since February 2005 which raise new issues the Government did not address in its Response, and should now.

It is emphasised that the Council will not be discussing wider arguments on the use of nanotechnology in society, nor looking at whether the commitments made by Government were the correct course of action, unless new evidence suggests compelling reasons for doing so.

Submissions should be sent to nanoreview@cst.gov.uk by Monday 2 October 2006.

For enquiries, please contact Jonathan Radcliffe, Deputy Secretary to the Council for Science and Technology, email jonathan.radcliffe@dti.gsi.gov.uk, telephone 020 7215 6579.

Please feel free to draw the Call for Evidence to the attention of others you think may wish to submit evidence to the Review.

Guidance for those submitting written evidence

The deadline for submitting written evidence is Monday 2 October 2006. The Council aims to publish its report in spring 2007.

Submissions should be sent as an email attachment to nanoreview@cst.gov.uk , and include a brief statement of the key points. Evidence will be published on the Council's website.

Please ensure that you include relevant contact details. Evidence should be attributed and dated, with a note of your name and position, and should state whether it is submitted on an individual or corporate basis.

Information provided in response to this Call for Evidence, including personal information, may be subject to publication or disclosure in accordance with the access to information regimes (these are primarily the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA), the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004). If you want some information that you provide to be treated as confidential, please inform us but be aware that, under the FOIA, there is a statutory Code of Practice with which public authorities must comply and which deals, amongst other things, with obligations of confidence.

In view of this it would be helpful if you could explain to us why you regard the information you have provided as confidential. If we receive a request for disclosure of the information we will take full account of your explanation, but we cannot give an assurance that confidentiality can be maintained in all circumstances. An automatic confidentiality disclaimer generated by your IT system will not, of itself, be regarded as binding.

Your personal data will be processed in accordance with the DPA and in most circumstances this will mean that your personal data will not be disclosed to third parties. Personal contact details will be retained by the Council's Secretariat and used for specific purposes relating to the Council's work, for instance to seek additional information or to send copies of the Council's Report.

UK Department of Trade and Industry
News release P/2006/157
Issued by the DTI on behalf of the Council for Science and Technology
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