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RTTA 4/3 characterizes, maps and assesses the integration of societal dimensions into nanotechnology policy and R&D processes in the US and Europe.
Part of this research explores the societal aspects of nanotechnology research and integration at the Nano-scale Science and Engineering Centers (NSECs). In May 2009, the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network (NNIN) funded a graduate research associate to conduct fieldwork and analyze interviews to learn how program leaders understand, practice and experience socio-technical integration as mandated by US federal legislation.
Additionally, RTTA 4/3 researchers used a database of over 1,000 documents from the US Congress, the NSF, and NSF-funded laboratories to identify and analyze a wide range of public value statements. Their analysis revealed a multifactor structure of public values that has been consistently cited throughout a policy network, demonstrating that quantitative analysis of value statements can provide a credible basis for policy analysis.
In another instance, RTTA 4/3 researchers have completed a systematic analysis of over 2,500 research calls in European framework programs to track the pervasiveness of socio-technical integration in the European R&D system. They identify a variety of modalities in which integration of the humanities and social sciences can occur. They also find that these have become significantly more pervasive over time, shifting from the periphery to the core of R&D practices.