European projects, Ethical, legal and social, Others, Responsible research and innovation

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The DEEPEN project aimed to establish an integrated understanding of the ethical issues posed by emerging nanotechnologies, to develop methodological tools for engaging civil society and the nanoscience community in ethical reflection, and to develop recommendations for incorporating ethical understanding into research practices and governance structures. DEEPEN ran from 2006 – 2009 and was funded by the FP6 Science and Society programme.

It aimed to integrate understanding of the ethical dilemmas posed by emerging nanotechnologies into the innovation trajectories of the technology itself. Such ‘real-time’ engagement took place in five ways. First, project partners developed a deepened ethical understanding of issues related to emerging nanotechnologies through an interdisciplinary approach utilising insights from philosophy, ethics, and social sciences. Second, they developed ways to map de-facto ethics embedded in the world of nanoscience and technology actors, and on that basis develop ways of enhancing ethical reflexivity in the nanoscience and technology world.

Third, the partners instigated a programme of cross-European empirical research aimed at unravelling the ethical categories of lay people to ethical issues posed by emerging nanotechnologies. Fourth, they organised new public fora where citizens, stakeholders, experts and decision-makers can develop common understandings of such dilemmas. And fifth, they developed recommendations for integrating ethical reflection into nanoscience practice and into governance and regulatory process.

Visit the DEEPEN project website (external link, last accessed 27 March 2014).