Converging Institutions: Shaping Relationships Between Nanotechnologies, Economy, and Society
Bulletin of Science, Technology, & Society
Vol. 27, Num. 6
This article considers the implications of nanotechnology as a "converging technology," which routinely brings together a diverse assortment of institutions, individuals, interests, processes, and products. Nanotechnology's ability to successfully integrate and foster interactions between academic, governmental, and economic, and scientific sectors (all of which have diverse needs and expectations, concerning nanotechnology) is reliant, the authors maintain, on the flexibility of societies' economic institutions and structures, and the development of broad public support for research within the nanotechnology field. Innovation in nanotechnology research and development, the authors argue, can potentially be impeded by systematic divergences, which can slow down the efficiency of research, development, and implementation processes surrounding nanotechnology. Converging institutions, however, can help to manage these potential difficulties, and to address the potential economic and social risks associated with nanotechnology.