COVID-19: Nanomedicine’s finest Hour?

Nanotechnology played a central role in providing the first two authorised vaccines against the COVID-19 pandemic just nine months after its underlying SARS-CoV-2 virus spread across the world, turning the pandemic crisis into what may be regarded as nanomedicine’s finest hour. Drs Steffi Friedrichs and Diana M. Bowman illustrate the

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Technology Governance through (Re-)Insurance

‘[I]nsurance is the institution of governance beyond the state […]’ [R. V. Ericson, A. Doyle, and D. Barry ‘Insurance as Governance’, 2003] Based on an in-depth analysis conducted for the Gov4Nano Project, Dr Steffi Friedrichs delivered a seminar entitled ‘Nanotechnology & the Insurance Industry’ as part of the Environmental Health

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NanoFabNet publishes ‘Concepts & Disciplines of Sustainability in Nanotechnology & Nanofabrication’

The NanoFabNet, a new network for sustainable, industrial-scale nanofabrication, supported by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation, published a report entitled ‘Concepts & Disciplines of Sustainability in Nanotechnology & Nanofabrication’. This report is devoted to a review of the concepts and disciplines of Sustainability in Nanotechnology and Nanofabrication.

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Nanotechnology & the Insurance Industry – Waving, not Drowning

‘There are still open questions [surrounding nanotechnology], but that applies to many emerging risks from new technologies‘ reads one of the main conclusions of a report about ‘The Information Needs of the (Re-)Insurance Industry’ concerning the risks posed by nanotechnologies; the quote was one of the concluding remarks given by

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A Plea for Standards in Synthetic Biology

… the promise of SynBio for the benefit of global society and industry will only be met if significant advances are achieved on the standardisation front. [The long journey towards standards for engineering biosystems, EMBO Rep (2020) e50521,] A joint group of of experts in synthetic biology (SynBio) and

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AcumenIST regulatory Approaches

Regulatory Approaches to Genome Editing in Agriculture

The organisers of the ‘OECD Conference on Genome Editing: Applications in Agriculture – Implications for Health, Environment and Regulation’ published ‘An overview of regulatory approaches to genome editing in agriculture’. The article summarises the OECD Conference session on ‘Regulatory Aspects of Genome Editing’,  during which government representatives from six different

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Meeting Report and full Proceedings of the OECD Conference on Genome Editing

The long-awaited ‘Meeting Report of the OECD Conference on “Genome Editing: Applications in Agriculture—Implications for Health, Environment and Regulation”’ of the seminal OECD Conference, held on the 28. – 29. June 2018 has now been published (Transgenic Research, August 2019, Volume 28, Issue 3–4, pp 419–463; DOI: The Conference brought together policy makers,

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Policy Considerations Regarding Genome Editing

‘Policy Considerations Regarding Genome Editing’ (DOI: have now been published in the latest ‘online now’-edition of Trends in Biotechnology. Summarising the policy discussions during the seminal OECD Conference, held on the 28. – 29. June 2018, this scientific article highlights the manifold arguments for and against more stringent regulations of genome

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Illustration of the orthogonality between the concepts of “basic” versus “applied” and “technology-push” versus “application-pull”.

STI Policy Trends in Comparison: Biotechnology, Nanotechnology and ICT

This in-depth “Trend-Analysis of Science, Technology and Innovation Policies for Biotechnology, Nanotechnology and Converging Technologies (BNCT)” analyses policies pertaining to nanotechnology and biotechnology over the past 30 to 40 years: it specifically studies and identifies their character (i.e. the questions (a) “Does a policy aim to push a technology (‘technology-push’) or to pull research towards a specific application (‘application-pull’)?” and (b) “Is a policy focused on one technology field only or is it applicable to a wide range of technologies?”).

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Share of biotechnology patents by sub-areas, 1990-2012; (IP5 patent families)

Statistics & Indicators of Biotechnology and Nanotechnology

This report brings together the latest available patenting and bibliometric activity data on biotechnology, nanotechnology and related emerging and converging technologies.
The authors, on behalf of the OECD and its expert working groups, re-confirmed indicators and measurement methodology for the multidisciplinary and partially overlapping technologies with a view to establishing uniquely accurate and relevant datasets.

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Composite background image: biotechnology, nanotechnology, converging technologies, statistics and indicators, policy assessment

Visualisation of Technology Convergence

The report provides a summary of trends and developments in biotechnology and nanotechnology over the last 20 to 25 years, based on the longitudinal analyses of patents.
In addition, an experimental indicator, which aims to identify trends and developments of research areas of biotechnology and nanotechnology, was introduced: publication titles of the two technology fields were analysed using a text-mining approach, and an overlay map of the most often use keyword co-occurrences was created, in order to visualise the developments over time in each research area.

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DNA Human Background image

Genome Editing – Opportunities & Challenges

Gene editing techniques are a major advance that could have major benefits across the domains of human health, sustainability and the economy that go beyond incremental advances of past biotechnologies. There are, however, significant policy challenges at the national and international level related to the governance of gene editing. These issues were addressed at a Workshop held in Ottawa, Canada, on September 29-30, 2016.

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Development in nanotechnology patent applications, 1990-2012 (number of IP5 patent families by inventor’s country and priority date; see also: NOTE and SOURCE below) [Source (adapted): Steffi Friedrichs, OECD STI Working Papers, 2018/06]

New statistical Definitions of Biotechnology and Nanotechnology

Agreement on a harmonised application of clear statistical definitions of technologies is pertinent to the delineation of technology fields both with regard to each other and within the context of wider economic developments.
This document represents a review of hitherto used statistical definitions of biotechnology and nanotechnology, and provides recommendations for the application of these definitions for statistical purposes.

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