Multicriteria mapping of stakeholder preferences in regulating nanotechnology
AbstractIn order to facilitate stakeholder discussions on how to regulate nanotechnology, the opensource program multicriteria mapping (MCM) was used to structure 26 interviews with stakeholders in the USA. MCM offers a systematic part quantitative, part qualitative approach to clarify why some regulatory options (bans, moratoriums, voluntary measures, etc.) were deemed to be acceptable/unacceptable by various stakeholders and which criteria stakeholders used to evaluate the different regulatory options. Adopting an incremental approach and implementing a new regulatory framework was evaluated as the best options whereas a complete ban and no additional regulation of nanotechnology were found to be the least favorable. Criteria applied differed substantially among stakeholders and included social, ethical, regulatory, environmental, and health issues. Opinions on future regulation seem far less polarized than expected and it seems that stakeholders would welcome a combination of voluntary measures, an incremental approach and forming of a new regulatory framework.