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© European Communities, 2011 What is Constructive Technology Assessment (CTA) CTA represents a family of approaches that aims at broadening interaction among all stakeholders, including as well lay people, to influence or modulate the design process itself. One of its presumptions is to consider and promote reflexivity about ethical, legal and social issues (ELSI), along with environmental, health and safety (EHS) concerns early on and throughout the technologies research and development. Portugal and Brazil: similar Nanotechnology R&D contexts Historical inexistence of a permanent or general Technology Assessment Institutions R&D on Nano mostly developed by public institutions and funded by the national S&T government Adoption of the deficit model of Public Understanding of Science in the policy discourse, with little concern about public engagement and early assessment of Nanotechnologies S&T Centralized top-down approach in S&T policy making Historical of brain-drain and technological dependence along with weak connection between universities and industries Increasing effort to scientific and technological catching- up, specially by stimulating more private R&D and fomenting collaboration among public and private institutions Research on Nano, even in nanoparticles and nanostructured materials, mostly in its initial stages. Contact Paulo Fonseca Centre for Social Studies, Faculty of Economics, University of Coimbra Tel INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE Institutional and policy similarities among the best practice countries Policy discourses commitment to improve and widen direct democratic governance Know-how and tradition with parliamentary and other kinds of Technology Assessment High interaction within private and public N&N institutions Strong and influential Science and Technology Studies Academy Influential non or semi-governmental institutions that lobby for policy decisions to promote more responsibility in the innovation process, specially by advocating the role of public engagement and technology assessment in the early process of R&D Envisioning of the inexorability of Knowledge Society Paradigm and the necessity of addressing social concerns as to assure its best economical outcomes Relatively trauma with recent S&T controversies recognizable in the policy discourse Suggestions for implementing CTA in Portugal and Brazil The sites for CTA activities are obviously the public institutions where there is nano R&D going on. In Portugal, for example, there could be an integrated Technology Assessment department at the INL, while in Brazil, this could be part of the LNLS (National Laboratory of Synchrotron Light, the major research center for applied physics) management organization. There should be incentives for more collaboration from social and natural scientists in the R&D laboratories PhD projects focused on assessing emerging nanotechnologies could be an adequate and feasible way for starting-up a culture of CTA, as it does not require much funding and it engages trans-disciplinary collaboration between social and natural scientists Big programs of public engagement on Nanotechnologies, as those promoted on UK, do not seem feasible in a short-time horizon, mostly because of the limited budget, the historical relatively apathy of Brazilian and Portuguese citizens engagement on S&T controversies and lack of institutional support. Possibilities for Institutionalizing Constructive Nanotechnology Assessment in Brazil and Portugal: A Comparative Study UK, US and Netherlands institutional settings for Constructive Nanotechnology Assessment Figure 1: Generic links and actors enrolled with CTA activities in the studied countries. The activities are mostly promoted within the academic environment and funded by National Government's agencies, except the UK case, where they are directly promoted by governmental agencies. RTTA stands for Real Time Technology Assessment and UPE for Upstream Public Engagement. Figure 2: Spain's King Juan Carlos and Portuguese President Anibal Cavaco Silva pull their countries' flags to unveil a plaque inaugurating the Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory INL, an international research center situated at the city of Braga, Portugal, where CTA activities could be integrated as part of the research activities. (AP Photo/Ricardo Castelo)
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