chapter  6
French Conferences Cycle on Nanotechnology: Nanomonde
Pages 10

Nanomonde was organised by Vivagora, a Paris-based French NGO founded in 2003. Vivagora frequently organises large public debates on social issues related to scientific and technological developments. It aims at encouraging interactions between academic, public, industrial, and civil society actors. Its already organised conferences are ‘The Appropriation of the Living’ (2004), ‘Health and Environment’ (2005), and ‘Brain and Mental Health’ (2007). In addition Vivagora, each year, in collaboration with the Conseil régional Île-de-France, organises a meeting on ‘Innovations in Democracy’  the latest was held in March 2008.2 The Vivagora Web site was conceived as an on-line ‘vigilance’ tool on participatory democracy techniques and social aspects of emerging technologies. It publishes a quarterly letter (VivaAgoVeille) to inform on these and related issues. Aside from the organisation of public debates, Vivagora provides a broad range of information on sustainability, neurosciences, and nanotechnology. The Nanomonde cycle was the first of a three nano-related series of conferences held in France between 2006 and 2007 (Nanomonde Paris 2006, Nanoviv Grenoble 2006, Nanoforum Paris 2007). A cycle of six conferences was launched in 2006. The process started in January 2006 and ended in June 2006. Seventeen recommendations were presented to and discussed with the public on the sixth and final conference. Methodologically, the Nanomonde conference explicitly refers to ‘national initiatives in public debate on nanotechnology like the Danish Board of Technologies (DBT) (2004, see Chapter 3), the citizen conference organised by the University of Wisconsin (Madison, April 2005, see Chapter 9) and the English NanoJury (summer 2005, see Chapter 4).3 Nanomonde aimed at assessing new scientific or technological developments from a social point of view, co-constructed in an open dialogue between public and experts. Its main objective could be formulated as advising decision-making by delivering citizens vote to academic, industrial, political, and civil society actors.4