In English

Swedish Companies and Nanotechnology - Perception of Nanotechnology Health and Environmental Risks

Carl-Arvid Dahlöf
Göteborg : Chalmers tekniska högskola, 2010. 62 s. Report - Division of Environmental Systems Analysis, Chalmers University of Technology; 2010:10, 2010.
[Examensarbete på avancerad nivå]

VINNOVA (The Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems), has been assigned the task of leading the development of a Swedish nanotechnology strategy; a strategy which stresses the importance of acknowledging both the possibilities and risks of nanotechnology to successfully create value. In connection with this development work, this thesis aims to analyze how Swedish companies working with nanotechnology perceive and respond to the potential health and environmental risks of the technology. The core part of the thesis is made up of an interview study where representatives from ten Swedish companies, of different sizes and industrial backgrounds, give their view on nanotechnology risks and company actions in relation to these. The analytical framework applied on the data is based on the idea of health and environmental risks as a source of technological, market, and regulatory uncertainties; which in turn can be mitigated with the help of knowledge and information. Additional elements from theory on the company’s innovation process, the technological innovation system, and the notion of reflexivity are linked to this duality of uncertainty and knowledge. The companies’ perception of nanotechnology health and environmental risks is one of little worry. There is acknowledgement of hazards pertaining to specific nanomaterials, e.g. carbon nanotubes, and the potential for what could be described as an image problem in the eyes of authorities and public. But as far as the own business is concerned, there is a general view of the nanotechnology usage as safe. Companies act on the knowledge at hand and given what is known about the nanotechnology used, and the type and context of nanomaterials in this particular study, there is currently no contradiction to the companies’ claims. Based on this perception there is little company activity directly related to the potential risks of nanotechnology.

Nyckelord: nanotechnology, health and environmental risk, Sweden, uncertainty, knowledge, innovation process, technological innovation system, reflexivity

Publikationen registrerades 2011-06-08. Den ändrades senast 2016-09-27

CPL ID: 141434

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