While preceding surveys have shown a high level of trust for science, technology and scientists among the Finnish populace, the recent Eurobarometer for Science and Technology has a different story to tell. Drawing on material gathered through a series of in-depth interviews with leading academics, public officials and other stakeholders involved with nanotech policy in Finland, this study aims to explore the attitudes towards the lack of public engagement with nanotechnologies, in the light of the aforementioned surveys.

The Eurobarometer survey suggests that Finns, though interested in new scientific discoveries and technological developments, consider scientists to foster a ‘tunnel vision’, concentrating on their individual fields rather than seeing their research in a wider perspective. The survey also shows that 47% of the respondents want the public to be consulted with regards to decision-making related to science and technology. A majority of the interviewees, on the other hand, show little understanding for the need for public engagement as the Finnish public, in their view, is very pro-technology, content with the situation, and generally disinterested in nanotechnology policy.

In conclusion, the paper suggests that the lack of public engagement in Finland is due to the institutionalized cultural circumstances in which Finnish nanotechnology policy and research and development is being carried out,which seem to suggest that Finland could be a textbook example of the deficit model in use.

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The lack of public engagement with nanotechnologies in Finland
The deficit model in praxis

Kajsa-Stina Magnusson   Department of Science and Technology Studies,University College London

While preceding surveys have shown a high level of trust for science, technology and scientists among the Finnish populace, the recent Eurobarometer for Science and Technology has a different story to tell. Drawing on material gathered through a series of in-depth interviews with leading academics, public officials and other stakeholders involved with nanotech policy in Finland, this study aims to explore the attitudes towards the lack of public engagement with nanotechnologies, in the light of the aforementioned surveys.

The Eurobarometer survey suggests that Finns, though interested in new scientific discoveries and technological developments, consider scientists to foster a ‘tunnel vision’, concentrating on their individual fields rather than seeing their research in a wider perspective. The survey also shows that 47% of the respondents want the public to be consulted with regards to decision-making related to science and technology. A majority of the interviewees, on the other hand, show little understanding for the need for public engagement as the Finnish public, in their view, is very pro-technology, content with the situation, and generally disinterested in nanotechnology policy.

In conclusion, the paper suggests that the lack of public engagement in Finland is due to the institutionalized cultural circumstances in which Finnish nanotechnology policy and research and development is being carried out,which seem to suggest that Finland could be a textbook example of the deficit model in use.

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.

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