College of Law publishes proceedings of national nanotech conference

The College of Law has published a special nanotechnology conference issue of Jurimetrics: The Journal of Law, Science and Technology that focuses on innovate new oversight models for rapidly emerging nanotechnologies.

Nanotechnology, known as the science of the small, is the ability to manipulate and utilize materials at the “nanoscale” level, where they display unique and beneficial characteristics. It is a rapidly emerging set of technologies being applied in virtually every industry sector, including health care, energy, food, cosmetics, materials, computer and communication technologies, automotive, environmental services and many others. At the same time that nanotechnology is providing many new exciting applications and benefits, it also has the potential to create significant new risks for workers, consumers and the environment.

“The enormous potential benefits of nanotechnology will only be realized if we can properly manage the risks of this important technology,” said Gary Marchant, faculty director of the Center for Law, Science & Innovation and first author of the lead article in the volume, entitled “The Biggest Issues for the Smallest Stuff: Nanotechnology and Risk Management.”

Marchant noted that in light of the many challenges impeding traditional regulation of nanotechnology, the innovation being applied by scientists and engineers in developing this technology will need to be matched with innovate governance approaches by policymakers and legal experts.

“That is what we attempted to do in this special issue of Jurimetrics – lay out the best thinking we could gather on innovative governance approaches for nanotechnology,” he said. 

The special Jurimetrics issue comes on the heels last year’s successful nanotechnology conference in Phoenix, which featured national and international nanotechnology experts from government, industry, nongovernmental organizations, the insurance industry and academia, who gathered to examine recent trends and challenges in regulation and risk management of nanotechnology.

The conference was co-hosted by the College of Law’s Center for Law, Science & Innovation, the Center for Nanotechnology in Society at ASU, the law firm of Polsinelli Shughart PC, the ABA Section of Science & Technology and the Arizona Nanotechnology Cluster, and was presented by Jurimetrics, an American Bar Association publication produced at the College of Law.

Articles in the compendium include:

“Big Issues for Small Stuff: Nanotechnology Regulation and Risk Management,” by Gary Marchant, the ASU Lincoln Professor of Emerging Technologies, Law and Ethics and Faculty Director of the College of Law’s Center for Law, Science & Innovation, and eleven College of Law students who were members of the Center’s nanotechnology research cluster: Blake Atkinson, David Banko, Joshua Bromley, Edite Cseke, Evan Feldstein, Devin Garcia, Justin M. Grant, Connor Hubach, Monika Silva, Robert L. Swinford and Simon Willman.

“Soft Law Oversight Mechanisms for Nanotechnology,” by Kenneth W. Abbott, the Willard H. Pedrick Distinguished Research Scholar, Faculty Fellow at the Center for Law, Science & Innovation, member of the Center for Law and Global Affairs Advisory Board, and Professor of Global Studies at ASU’s School of Politics & Global Studies; Gary Marchant; and Elizabeth A. Corley, the Lincoln Professor of Public Policy, Ethics & Emerging Technologies and an Associate Professor in the School of Public Affairs (SPA) at ASU.

“Nanotechnology Liability: Do We Steer or Just Go Along for the Ride?” by Edward R. Glady Jr., partner at Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP; Gregorio M. Garcia, principal in the Law Office of Gregorio M. Garcia, PC; and Blair H. Moses, an associate at Polsinelli Shugart.

“Matching Solutions to Problems: Strategies for Nanotechnology Oversight,” by Daniel J. Fiorino, Executive in Residence, Department of Public Administration and Policy, and Director at the Center for Environmental Policy at the School of Public Affairs, at American University.

“Soft Law and Nanotechnology: A Functional Perspective,” by Timothy F. Malloy, Professor of Law at UCLA School of Law and Faculty Director at the UCLA Sustainable Technology and Policy Program.

“Scientific Challenges of Nanomaterial Risk Assessment,” by Kiril D. Hristovski, Assistant Professor at ASU’s Department of Applied Sciences and Mathematics.

“Public Challenges of Nanotechnology Regulation,” by Elizabeth A. Corley; Youngjae Kim, Doctoral Student at ASU’s School of Public Administration; and Dietram A. Scheufele, Research Team Leader at ASU’s Center for Nanotechnology in Society and Professor of Journalism and Mass Communication and Life Sciences Communication at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
The conference and follow-up workshop were funded in part by a grant from the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, Biological and Environmental Research to the Center for Law, Science & Innovation that is investigating new governance approaches to nanotechnology.

The Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law’s Center for Law, Science & Innovation is the first and largest academic center focused on the intersection of law with science and technology. Its 26 faculty fellows work with students and research fellows to explore innovations in law and policy for a world of rapidly changing technologies, through leading-edge scholarship, education, and policy dialogue.

Jurimetrics, The Journal of Law, Science, and Technology, published quarterly, is the journal of the American Bar Association Section of Science & Technology Law and the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law’s Center for Law, Science & Innovation.