Regulating the Invisible: Law, Science and Accountability Concerns in the Governance of Nanotechnologies
PhD student: Ms T. Ehnert
Promotor: Mrs Prof E.I.L. Vos
Duration: 15/8/2010 - 14/8/2014
PhD defence: Maastricht, 26/3/2015
This research aims to develop a theoretical framework for an accountability regime in the EU risk governance of nanotechnologies. Different to other emerging technologies such as biotechnology, nanotechnologies are expected to bring about a new industrial revolution by fundamentally challenging the way in which products are manufactured; at the same time, significant gaps in scientific knowledge on the EHS effects exist which have so far prevented agreement on definitions and testing methods. Given these particularities, a fast development of nano-specific legislation does not seem possible. Therefore, the use of new modes of governance, in particular a greater reliance on the private sector, needs to be considered. With a particular focus on self- and co-regulation, this research will explore three options that the EU disposes of in order to respond to the challenges: the legislative option, the option to use new modes of governance and a combination of the two. It will be discussed in how far these options will tackle accountability concerns in the governance of nanotechnologies, whether such options will raise new accountability problems and, if so, how these can be addressed.