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Nanotechnology: Shaping Australia’s future

Nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology and cognitive technologies provide the key to a more equitable society, according to the minister for innovation, industry, science and research, Senator Kim Carr.

In the next 10 to 30 years, nanotechnology will have a significant impact on our economy, providing the basis for developing new materials, new ways to produce clean energy, new medicines, new computers, and “new ways to unlock the potential of human beings”, said Carr in a speech to Parliament today.

“We know already that these technologies are going to have a significant impact. It is therefore essential that we have policies to maximise the benefits while minimising any risks,” he said, in his speech, Social Inclusion and Community Engagement on Nanotechnology’.

Carr will be spearheading the plan to maximise the benefits of nanotechnology under a Commonwealth framework established earlier this year for the responsible management of nanotechnology.

The framework is intended to guide both how nanotechnology is studied and how it is applied, and is based on three guiding principles:

• one, to protect the health and safety of humans and the environment

• two, to foster informed community debate

• and three, to achieve economic and social benefits from the responsible adoption of nanotechnology.

“Australia is a small country facing great challenges. If we are serious about achieving our full potential, we need to work together,” said Carr, suggesting that cooperation between industry bodies would allow further development in the technology.

“Last month’s Monash University forum on nanotechnology science, policy and public perspectives demonstrated that most people with an interest in this field want to be part of the conversation.”

Carr is calling for as many groups as possible in public researchers and private industry to get behind the cause.

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