A Cunning Plan To Avoid Nanotech Risks?

Michael Berger at Nanowerk has a look at the the new EU Communication Roadmap and wonders what is is for. I had a similar issue when we were involved with the Nanoforum project years ago, and pulled out when

  1. No one involved in it could explain why they were doing it or explain
  2. why the EU taxpayers were being billed to try to put other EU taxpayers who were trying to make a living from European nanotech information out of business) and
  3. a project officer admitted it was pointless rubbish but refused to kill it and
  4. I simply couldn’t stomach the idea of producing meaningless irrelevant drivel and having my name associated with it.

That aside, it does raise the issue of the barrage of documentation where roadmap after roadmap is produced with no reference to the preceding version and with no attempt to measure progress, something a number of people have been grumbling about. As Berger notes:

In case of the EC, if this roadmap fails (which would require to have someone check in a few years time how it has done) nobody will be blamed or even fired. A new group, or the same group, of bureaucrats will then spend a few million euros in taxpayer money to conduct surveys and workshops and seminars and just write a new one.

It’s not just an European Commission problem,  the UK has got so good at this that one speaker from a government department at a conference last week boasted that the UK is a world leader in talking about health and safety aspects of nanotechnologies.

Talking about risk and communication is obviously less hazardous than doing anything, but blowing the entire budget on paperwork is not a particularly brilliant long term plan!

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