TRC 1: Equity, Equality & Responsibility

Susan Cozzens, co-leader of TRC 1, reading a conference program

The goal of TRC 1 is to study ways that nanoscale science and engineering (NSE) reflects social and economic inequalities and contributes to increasing or decreasing them in different national contexts.

This includes identifying how the concepts of equity, equality, and responsibility are being applied in the development of NSE, and exploring ways to ensure that NSE can contribute to equity, equality, and responsibility as public values.

Part of TRC 1 has been to analyze the unequal conditions and consequences of emerging nanotechnology applications in developed and developing countries. Primarily, this research has been focused on the United States and South Africa. South Africa was chosen as an example of a developing country due to the existence of nanotechnology programs explicitly focused on water and energy applications which have the highest potential to benefit marginalized communities. Site visits and conference presentations have brought this research back to the community. 

A second successful aspect of TRC 1 was inspired by the S.NET challenge of developing innovative ways to disseminate research findings. An innovative card game was developed for that conference that has players assume a random societal role and barter with other players for nanotechnologies that may benefit them the most. The "Nano Around the World" card game conveys the basic lesson that the vast majority of nanotechnologies do not benefit people in developing countries, but that those communities could benefit if there more effort spent on developing for their needs. The game has been presented numerous times and is currently being distributed by the Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network (NISE Net) to over 200 science and technology museums. The game is also available for download.

Recent Publications from TRC 1

Harsh, Matthew. January 2014. "Designing a Community Engagement Short Course for Engineers." Presentation. Global Engineering Symposium, Engineers without Borders Canada National Conference. Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Cozzens, Susan. March 2013. "Invited Lecture." Presentation. Tshwane University of Technology. Pretoria, South Africa.
Harsh, Matthew. November 2013. "Ethics and Nanomaterials." Presentation. South African Department of Science and Technology’s Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Summer School. University of the Western Cape. Cape Town, South Africa.