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1546-2080 Online :: 1546-203X Print
The NELSI Imperative: Nano Ethical, Legal and Social Issues,
and Federal Policy Development

Volume 3, Issue 2


Authors:
Nigel M. de S. Cameron, Illinois Institute of Technology

Abstract:
The excitement about nanotechnology being the technology of the 21 st century has led to substantial government funding for its research and development under the auspices of the National Nanotechnology Initiative (“NNI”). Yet, despite specifically-articulated concerns regarding nano’s ethical, legal and social implications (“NELSI”) by lawmakers and other governmental policymakers, dedicated NELSI funding has been minimal, at best, during the first five years of the NNI. This phenomenon is worrisome not only because the 21 st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act repeatedly addresses the NELSI agenda, but more importantly because nanotechnology—which claims to hold the keys to economic viability and the cure to intractable diseases, among other critical issues—must be developed in a responsible manner to avoid both public backlash and the very real possibility of offending the human condition.

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