My colleague Dexter Johnson has some ideas about how to improve public engagement with nanotechnologies – get rid of the intermediaries!
Given that the average spend on an EU funded project in this are must be around €500,00, and there have been dozens of such projects, an army of scientists could be deployed to buy people drinks and badger people in cafés, pubs and bars across the continent. Not only would it be more effective, several million euros would flow straight back into the economy without Universities skimming off a fat administration fee.
It may sound far fetched, but it has actually been done with great success. In this Radio 4 program, Tony Ryan of Sheffield University successfully accosts, engages and interests a number of members of the public armed with nothing more than a microphone and an infectious enthusiasm for the subject.