Science and Technology Innovation Program
A 2010 analysis by the Synthetic Biology Project found that the U.S. government spent around $430 million on research related to synthetic biology since 2005, with the Department of Energy funding a majority of the research. By comparison, the analysis indicated that the European Union and three individual European countries – the Netherlands, United Kingdom, and Germany – had spent approximately $160 million during that same period. Approximately 4 percent of the U.S. funding and 2 percent of the European funding was being spent to explore ethical, legal, and social implications of synthetic biology, but no projects focused on risk assessment.
In partnership with the Pew CharitableTrusts, the Wilson Center will work with industry, academia, NGOs, and others to explore the future of nanotechnologies and their implications for the environment and human health.
Individuals and organizations using social media and crowdsourcing need two key sets of information: a systematic assessment of the vulnerabilities in these technologies and a comprehensive set of best practices describing how to address these vulnerabilities. This report identifies certain vulnerabilities and provides a guideline to develop best practices necessary to address a growing number of incidents ranging from innocent mistakes to targeted attacks that have claimed lives and cost millions of dollars.
From laptop computers to sunscreens to stain-resistant clothing, nanotechnology is gaining ground in the consumer products marketplace. The Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies launches the only publicly available, online, and searchable inventory of nanotechnology-based consumer products.
Jane Harman writes about the potential of serious games – like the Wilson Center’s own Budget Hero – to engage citizens in public policy and even fix our broken Congress in Bloomberg's "My Bright Idea" column.
"Nanoscale science and engineering promise to be as important as the steam engine, the transistor, and the Internet, and have the potential to revolutionize all other technologies" according to Neal Lane, former science advisor to U.S. President Bill Clinton. "But that outcome is not guaranteed."
Published by the Commons Lab, "New Visions in Citizen Science" showcases seventeen case studies that offer a mosaic view of federally-sponsored citizen science and open innovation projects, from in-the-field data collection to online games for collective problem-solving. This report offers a sampling of different models that support public contribution, potential challenges, and positive impacts that projects can have on scientific literacy, research, management, and public policy.
July 2007 - This paper provides an overview of the current state of genomic science and technology, and its relevance for risk assessment and chemical regulation.
A new report from the Science and Technology Innovation Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars defines the criteria for a new technology assessment function in the United States. The report, Reinventing Technology Assessment: A 21st Century Model, emphasizes the need to incorporate citizen-participation methods to complement expert analysis. Government policymakers, businesses, non-governmental organizations, and citizens need such analysis to capably navigate the technology-intensive world in which we now live.