Nanotechnology is expected to have transformative effects on society. The overarching goal of NE3LS research is to focus attention on the broader issues that nanotechnology raises and to inspire the responsible and ethical translation of nanotechnology to society.
It is hoped that NE3LS research will inspire the collaborative development, by government, industry and academia, of appropriate controls, public policy tools and commercialization strategies. Given that nanotechnology has been given priority in Canada's national innovation agenda, it is important that NE3LS issues be proactively and collaboratively considered and addressed by government, academia and industry. Through the NE3LS research theme, the NRC and NINT have expressly recognized this reality.
The NE3LS researchers focus on understanding the development of nanoscience and technology within a broader societal and transnational context. Current and ongoing research is focused on the development of a deeper understanding of issues related to the environment, human health and safety, law, policy and ethics, public opinion, commercialization and the development of a socio-historical analysis of the growth of nanoscience and technology.
NE3LS research has an important role to play in ensuring that acceptance or rejection of nanotechnology by society is based on a genuine understanding of specific technologies and the appropriate weighing of risks and benefits (both known and potential).