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(Mar 02, 2008) The European Commission has a keen interest in the newly emerging fields of nanoscience and nanotechnology. The Commission – in light of the fact that this area of research raises questions pertaining to ethics and fundamental rights and may also have a tremendous positive impact on society and the environment – took action initially in 2005, by adopting the Nanotechnologies Action Plan. On February 8, 2008, the Commission adopted an additional measure, the Code of Conduct for Responsible Nanosciences and Nanotechnologies Research. The core of the Code of Conduct consists of seven principles on which research in this field must be based. These principles are:

  • Meaning: research must be comprehensible to the public and must respect fundamental rights;
  • Sustainability: research should be safe and ethical and must not harm or endanger humans, animals, plants, or the environment at large;
  • Precaution: research must be guided by the precautionary principle;
  • Inclusiveness: research must be open and transparent to all stakeholders;
  • Excellence: research must meet the best available scientific standards, including safe laboratory practices and integrity of research;
  • Innovation: research must encourage maximum creativity, flexibility, and planning ability for innovation and growth; and
  • Accountability: all persons involved in research activities must be held accountable for any impact on society, the environment, and humans.

The Code of Conduct is not binding. The Commission recommends that Member States encourage the appropriate authorities involved in this field to adopt the Code voluntarily. The Commission will monitor the implementation of the Code annually and will review compliance every two years. (Press Release, European Commission Adopts Code of Conduct for Responsible Nanosciences and Nanotechnologies Research, IP/08/193 (Feb. 8, 2008), available at

Author: Theresa Papademetriou More by this author
Topic: Science and technology More on this topic
Jurisdiction: European Union More about this jurisdiction

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Last updated: 03/02/2008