Memorandum by Department for Innovation,
Universities and Skills (DIUS)
The Department for Innovation, Universities
and Skills (DIUS) is pleased to submit the following evidence
to assist the Committee in its inquiry into Nanotechnologies and
Our response provides the information that the
Committee requested from the Science and Innovation Network about
nanotechnologies in food in the following countries:
United States of America (Annex 6)
DIUS notes that the Food Standards Agency, the
Research Councils UK and the Department for Environment, Food
and Rural Affairs are also submitting evidence on areas for which
they have responsibility.
DIUS has a wider responsibility for promoting
good practice in public engagement about science and technologies.
The Sciencewise-Expert Resource Centre
supports public dialogue projects and aims to promote best practice
in Government departments. It also builds capacity for public
dialogue and engagement across Government.
DIUS also provides funding for the Research
Councils to support research and related post-graduate training.
The Research Councils support a broad range of activities relating
to nanotechnologies, which include support for research which
has or may have an application in the food sector. They have also
been involved in public engagement activities focusing on the
social, ethical, legal and regulatory issues surrounding applications
of nanotechnologies. Research Council activities and inputs into
the cross-Government coordination activities are coordinated by
the RCUK Nanotechnology Group. The Research Councils are submitting
separate evidence to the inquiry.
In addition, DIUS chairs the Ministerial and
policy coordination groups that seek to coordinate work across
Government to ensure the responsible development of nanotechnologies.
These groups consider the implications for nanotechnologies across
a wide range of policy areas and we would like to draw the Committee's
attention to key documents that explain the wider Government agenda,
its coordination and how we are pursuing it in international fora.
In February 2005, the Government published its
to the Royal Society and Academy of Engineering report "Nanoscience
and nanotechnologies: opportunities and uncertainties".
The response set out the Government's agenda for nanotechnologies
and invited the Council for Science and Technology to review its
progress after two and five years. The Council reported on its
first review in March 2007 in Nanosciences and nanotechnologies:
a review of Government's progress on its policy commitments.
Following the report by the Council for Science
and Technology, the Government established a Ministerial group
on nanotechnologies, chaired by the Science and Innovation Minister,
to make sure that the UK continues to play a leading role in the
understanding, development and regulation of nanotechnologies.
The Ministerial group is informed by policy
coordination groups and views expressed in the Nanotechnologies
At the request of the Ministerial group, a statement by the UK
was published in February 2008 setting out the Government's
vision for nanotechnologies and outlining the range of activities
being carried out.
More recently, the Ministerial group announced
its intention to develop a strategy for nanotechnologies that
addresses both the exploitation of technologies and the management
of potential risks. This will be developed in dialogue with the
full spectrum of interested parties (academia, industry, non-governmental
organisations and the public). DIUS is currently developing the
programme of dialogue which will build on lessons learned from
previous public engagement activities around nanotechnologies.
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