RTI International to Host Policy Forum on Regulation in the Nanotechnology Field


 On May 4, 2011, research institute RTI International will host a policy forum entitled, "Nanotechnology: The Huge Challenge of Regulating Tiny Technologies." The forum will be held at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, where experts will discuss the issues and concerns regarding the difficulties faced by agencies in drafting federal regulation and trying to keep pace with the rate of evolution in some areas in the field of nanotechnology. The forum will address regulations and public policies "needed to maximize the benefits of this emerging technology while minimizing the risks in order to encourage further development, scientific exploration, and responsible commercialization of this technology."


Participants include:



James "Jim" Trainham, PhD, Vice President, Strategic Energy Programs, RTI International


Jim Alwood, Toxic Substances Control Act Nanotechnology Coordinator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Cole Matson, PhD, Executive Director, Center for the Environmental Implications of NanoTechnology at Duke University

Michele Ostraat, PhD, Senior Director, Center for Aerosol and Nanomaterials Engineering, RTI International

Sally Tinkle, PhD, Deputy Director, National Nanotechnology Coordination Office


Please visit the forum's website for more information:


John Monica to present at nanotechnology conference


On March 21, 2011, Porter Wright partner John C. Monica, Jr. will participate as a presenter at the annual conference of Jurimetrics: The Journal of Law, Science, and Technology at Arizona State University's Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law. The conference, entitled "The Biggest Issues for the Smallest Stuff: Regulation and Risk Management of Nanotechnology," will focus on recent trends and challenges in regulations currently being considered by federal agencies and risk management and safety initiatives proposed or implemented in the nanotechnology arena. John will join other nanotechnology experts from various organizations, including government, industry, non-governmental organizations, the insurance industry and academia. He will speak specifically about stakeholder perspectives in the field from a legal practitioner angle.


To learn more about the conference, please visit: 



New England Nanomanufacturing Summit to Take Place June 22-24, 2010

The 2010 New England Nanomanufacturing Summit, which will be held at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell from June 22-24, 2010, will highlight areas of practice in the field of nanomanufacturing that are near-term and may soon be capable of commercial development and marketing. The challenges facing production of nanoscale systems and devices make the topic especially relevant to those interested in the manufacture of real-world nanotechnology products. The Summit is soliciting abstracts for topical papers focusing on emerging technologies, applications, and research challenges in the field of nanomanufacturing, including environmental health and safety, nanoelectronics, nanomanufacturing strategies for multiscale nanomanufacturing, and bio-inspired processes, among others.

Nanotechnology and the Social Inclusion Workshop

One of the frequent criticisms of government policies regarding nanotechnology, nanoindustry, or nanomaterials, is that the public is not involved in the decision making process or that the public is not informed about the risks, benefits, etc.

In December 2008, the Australian Office of Nanotechnology (AON) tried a new approach to that problem by creating a "Social Inclusion and Community  Engagement Workshop". By inviting representatives from Government, Academia, Industry, NGOs, and the general public, the AON sought to create dialog and

. . . . a positive culture between key stake holders . . . . This workshop would help create a partnership approach to discussing, developing and delivering social inclusion and engagement policies and practices for AON and the stakeholders involved or interested in nanotechnology.

The report issued by AON about the workshop describes key points raised by each stakeholder group. Two key points emerge as common to all groups, although each group expressed it differently:

1) The need for a sharing of knowledge and information with each other in language that each group could understand and

2) A need to continue and expand the workshop as a way of building trust and overcoming divisions.

All too often, Industry, Government, Academia, Activist Groups/NGOs and the general public allow walls to develop, walls that block out communication and understanding with others. To paraphrase and disagree with Robert Frost, good walls do not good neighbors make.

The report is well worth reading and one can only hope that its findings are followed up on with more workshops in Australia and similar ones in the US and Europe as well.

Summary -- ABA Nanotechnology Seminar


On October 27, 2006, the ABA Section on Environment, Energy and Resources sponsored a teleconference on the science of nanotechnology.  The speakers were Kristen Kulinowski, Ph.D., from Rice University, and John Balbus, M.D., from Environmental Defense, and the moderator was Sunil Garg, Ph.D., Esq., from the Ecoshelf Group.

Kulinowski described nanotechnology as understanding and controlling of matter between the molecular and particulate levels, where the properties of materials change and new properties emerge. For example, gold at nanoscale is red or blue and has a much higher chemical reactivity.  Major changes can be made to a material's magnetism, friction and electrical conductivity. There are already 200-300 products on the market today that are touted as nanomaterials, and success is predicted for nanomaterials with regard to solar panels, replacing copper wires, defense applications, medicine and environmental technology. However, nanomaterials cause come concern. Some materials appear to be fairly cytotoxic, and larger cell organisms show the effects of nanomaterials in hazard studies (inject in lab).

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