NanoJury is not concerned with consensus. The model is inspired by the legal jury system, where the participants reach to verdicts after being presented for relevant information and perspectives from a wide range of different ‘witnesses’. Thus, voting is a natural part of the conclusions in such processes. The NanoJury in Halifax, Yorkshire, was probably the first deliberative process on nanotechnology in the UK. This deliberation was also a part of a broader and deeper U.K. activity on public engagement in complicated and controversial technological questions in the period 2004-2006. There are reasons to believe that the public discourses about bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and genetically modified (GM) food in the 1990s constituted the political background for this new upstream activity in the United Kingdom, where the government played a decisive part (Gavelin, Wilson, & Doubleday, 2007). In a document from the U.K. government (HM Government, 2005, p. 2) the goals of a public dialogue on nanotechnology is developed along the following lines: • Enable citizens to understand and reflect on nanotechnology • Enable the science community and the public to explore together aspirations and concerns • Enable institutions to understand, reflect, and respond to public aspirations and concerns • Establish and maintain public confidence in development of technologies • Contribute to wider government initiatives to improve the general trustworthiness • Support wider governmental initiatives to support citizens
participation We have abbreviated the goals slightly and emphasized what we hold to be key phrases in the context of this book. The U.K. government defined four instruments to meet these goals: (1) Nanodialogues were supported by the Department of Trade
and Industry’s ‘Sciencewise’ programme and were developed in cooperation with other projects funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) in the United Kingdom.2 2 www.sciencewise.org.uk/
Nanodialogues defined four areas for an upstream public engagement, as cooperation with regulatory authorities, research institutions, businesses, and NGOs: risk and regulation in the use of nanoparticles and nanotubes; the role of public engagement in shaping research goals; public engagement in industrial innovation processes; and potential opportunities, barriers, and benefits to the global diffusion of nanotechnology. (2) The main idea behind Small Talk programme was to build an arena for communication between the science community and the public. It was not only a matter of dissemination plans and activities, but also communication strategies and dialogues. To some degree Small Talk also represents a necessary link between scientists and political authorities. (3) The Nanotechnology Engagement Group (NEG) (Involve, 2005, 2006, 2007) seems to be the most important of these governmental instruments. NEG consisted of a core research group, a supporting forum of 20 persons, and a wider scientific network. The main goal was to provide a platform for public upstream activity on nanotechnology. Involve was responsible for NEG in cooperation with Cambridge Nanoscience Centre.