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NPEC is the Nanotechnology Public Engagement and Communications Working Group of the Nanoscale Science, Engineering, and Technology (NSET) Subcommittee, the interagency body responsible for coordinating the NNI, the Federal program that oversees nanotechnology R&D.
Purpose and Goals
The 21st Century Nanotechnology R&D Act calls on NNI participating agencies to provide “through the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office…for public input and outreach to be integrated into the Program by the convening of regular and ongoing public discussions, through mechanisms such as citizens’ panels, consensus conferences, and educational events, as appropriate.”
To address needs related to public input and outreach, the NSET in December 2004 approved the creation of a working group to advise the NNCO staff. The group helps plan public engagement activities and assess the need for ongoing National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI)-related public participation. Working group participation is open to all NSET members and/or their designees.
The purpose of the NPEC Working Group is to encourage, coordinate, and support NNI member agencies and interagency efforts toward educating and engaging the public, policy makers, and stakeholder groups regarding nanotechnology, its applications and implications, and the work of the NNI.
The NPEC Working Group has the following goals:
- Provide for exchange of information among agencies participating in the NNI on issues related to public outreach, engagement, and communications.
- Facilitate the identification, prioritization, and implementation of activities involving public outreach, engagement, and communications on behalf of the NSET Subcommittee.
- Promote communication of NNI research findings and policy-related matters, including those related to: environmental, health and safety (EHS) issues; ethical, legal, and social implications (ELSI), and; international cooperation toward responsible development of nanotechnology.
- Assist in the development of information and strategies regarding public outreach, engagement, risk communications, and communications activities.
- With input from the NSET Subcommittee and other groups, support the development of best practices for outreach and engagement regarding the responsible development of nanotechnology.
- Develop and coordinate dialogue and public engagement activities between governmental, non-governmental, the public, and other stakeholders on nanotechnology.
The NPEC Working Group may form task groups led by its members and may invite individuals with needed additional expertise to participate in such groups.
The membership is open to all Federal Agencies that participate in the NNI and their component organizations. Each participating agency may have a representative on the Working Group and, if desired, may name alternates to the Working Group.