Tuesday, January 29, 2008

News release: EPA Launches Major Nanotechnology Monitoring Project; Top Government Officials to Speak at FDLI Conference

WASHINGTON, Jan. 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- By 2014, the market for nanotechnology goods will grow to an astronomical $2.6 trillion, according to Lux Research. Now, federal agencies have begun to focus their attention on regulating this burgeoning new technology. A Food and Drug Administration task force recently issued a major report on nanotechnology, and the Environmental Protection Agency just launched its Nanoscale Materials Stewardship Program (NMSP) to find out the human health and environmental risks and benefits of nanoscale chemical products.

Now, for the first time, top officials at the agencies responsible for the regulation of nanotechnology products --- including the Food and Drug Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Department of Agriculture --- will meet at a Food and Drug Law Institute conference to discuss their plans for managing and monitoring these products.

At FDLI's 1st Annual Conference on Nanotechnology Law, Regulation and Policy, February 28-29, 2008, at the L'Enfant Plaza Hotel, in Washington, D.C., food and drug industry representatives also will find out what's happening internationally on nanotech regulation, how venture capitalists look at the future of nanotechnology and what the leading corporations, scientific laboratories and academic centers are focusing on in this dynamic field.

This groundbreaking conference, co-sponsored by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars' Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies, in partnership with Arizona State University and the Burdock Group, will address the crucial issues surrounding nanotechnology law, regulation and policy, including:

-- What first and second generation nanotechnology products already are on the market, and what is to come?
-- Is Congress ready to act on nanotechnology if federal regulators do not?
-- Do Europe and Asia approach nanotechnology safety and oversight differently than the United States?
-- How do consumers see nanoproducts?
-- When it comes to nanotechnology, should size make a regulatory difference?

Michael Taylor, Research Professor of Health Policy, School of Public Health and Health Services, The George Washington University, and author of the most comprehensive report published on nanotechnology regulation at FDA, Regulating the Products of Nanotechnology, Does FDA Have the Tools It Needs?, will present the keynote address. Also, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), co-chair of the Congressional Nanotechnology Caucus, and invited luncheon speaker, will discuss future congressional actions in this area.

Top-level FDA officials, including Associate Commissioner for Science Norris Alderson; Deputy Commissioner for Policy Randall W. Lutter; Deputy Associate General Counsel Jeffrey Senger; and Director of Food Additive Safety Laura Tarantino, will appear on a special panel on FDA regulation of nanotechnology.

Other featured speakers and moderators include:

Jay M. Ansell, Personal Care Products Council;
Susan D. Brienza, Of Counsel, Patton Boggs LLP;
George Burdock, President, Burdock Group;
Robert W. Carpick; University of Pennsylvania Director, The Nanotechnology Institute;
Ricardo Carvajal; Counsel, Reed Smith LLP;
Jim Czaban, Partner, WilmerHale;
Lee Farrow, Senior Vice President, ACE Medical Risk;
Piotr Grodzinski, Director, NCI Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer, NIH;
Ralph Hall, Professor, University of Minnesota Law School;
Robert A. Hoerr, President & CEO, Nanocopoeia, Inc.;
Michael Holman. Senior Analyst, Lux Research;
Karen Hunter, Program Specialist, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service;
Rachel G. Lattimore, Partner, Arent Fox LLP;
Bernie Liebler, Director, Technology & Regulatory Affairs, AdvaMed;
Scott Livingston, Managing Director, Axiom Capital Management/The Livingston Group;
Jane Macoubrie, President, Embry Research;
Ellen Maldenado, Attorney-at-Law;
Gary Marchant, Lincoln Professor of Emerging Technologies, Law & Ethics
Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law;
Philippe Martin, Principal Administrator, Nanotechnologies Policy Development and Coordination, Consumer Protection Directorate (DG-SANCO),
European Commission;
Terry L. Medley, Global Director, Corporate Regulatory Affairs, DuPont Environment and Sustainable Growth Center;
Julia A. Moore, Deputy Director, Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars;
Sean Murdock, Executive Director, NanoBusiness Alliance;
Fern P. O'Brian, Partner, Arnold & Porter LLP;
Leon Radomsky, Chair, Nanotechnology Industry Team, Foley & Lardner LLP;
David W. Rejeski, Director, Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars;
Stephanie Scharf, Partner, Schoeman Updike Kauffman & Scharf;
Dietram Scheufele, Professor of Life Sciences Communication, University of Wisconsin;
Paul A. Schulte. Director, Education and Information Division, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health;
Laura Sciarrino, Vice President, Legal, CV Therapeutics, Inc.; and Regulatory Affairs, AdvaMed
Jim Willis, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

2008 Science and Engineering Indicators released

The 2008 version of the National Science Board's Science and Engineering Indicators are out and available for download. Chapter 7, in particular, provides an excellent overview of public attitudes and social implications of emerging technologies, including nanotech.

One of the report's strengths are sidebars detailing the various bodies of literature in science communication and public opinion research that help contextualize the findings. The report also provides overview data on public attitudes toward nano, including some preliminary comparisons of nano attitudes in Europe, Canada, and the U.S:
Americans, Europeans, and Canadians share similarly favorable
attitudes about biotechnology and nanotechnology.

 In 2005, 71% of Americans and 67% of Canadians expressed
support for products and processes involving
biotechnology. Almost two-thirds of Europeans said they
expected biotechnology to positively affect their way of
life in the next 20 years.

 When told about nanotechnology, about half of Americans
surveyed in 2005 foresaw substantial or some benefit from
it, and 14% expected substantial or some risk. Canadian response
to the same question was similar. Among Europeans,
48% expected positive effects from nanotechnology, whereas
only 8% expected negative effects.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

India's Volks-Nano

India's Tata Group just presented its smallest and cheapest new vehicle: the "Tata Nano." The Nano is 3.10 meters long, 1.50 meters wide, and 1.60 meters high. With these dimensions, it is literally a dwarf, compared to many U.S. cars. The GMC Yukon XL, for instance, is 5.64 meters long, 2,01 meters wide, and 1.95 meters high. But at least the Yukon comes in a hybrid version ... which gets 20 miles per Gallon on the highway. The non-hybrid Nano, of course, gets 47 miles per Gallon (or 5l/100km), about the same as the Prius.

This from Tata Group's press release:
The launch of the People's Car by Tata Motors is a defining moment in the history of India's automotive industry. For Tata Motors, the car — christened the Nano, because it is a small car with high technology — is the next big step in a journey that began with the Indica. For the Tata Group, it is the realisation of a pioneering vision to create a breakthrough product globally that rewrites the rules of the small-car business.

(Click here for the full release.)
The manufacturer's description of the Nano as "The People's Car," of course, brings to mind some unfortunate comparisons to Adolf Hitler 's idea of a "Volkswagen." Many climate scientists, however, are less disturbed about the label, and much more about the environmental impacts of potentially turning India into a gigantic version of Los Angeles:
While the price has created a buzz, critics say the vehicle ... will lead to possibly millions more cars hitting already clogged Indian roads, adding to mounting air and noise pollution problems. ... Chief U.N. climate scientist Rajendra Pachauri, who shared last year's Nobel Peace Prize, said last month that "I am having nightmares" about the prospect of the low-cost car.

(Click here for the full AP story.)

Thursday, January 03, 2008

ISI data: Wisconsin highly productive and high impact in communication ... again

The December 3, 2007 issue of Thomson Learning’s SCI-BYTES ranks the University of Wisconsin again among the very best programs in communication. Based on SSI data from 2002 to 2006, Wisconsin was ranked #2 in terms of scholarly impact, measured by the average number of citations per article. Wisconsin also had far more publications than any other school in the top-5, and came in ahead of the University of Michigan, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, who were ranked 3rd, 4th, and 5th, respectively, in terms of citation rates.