Recommendations for oversight of nanobiotechnology: Dynamic oversight for complex and convergent technology

Gurumurthy Ramachandran, Susan M. Wolf, Jordan Paradise, Jennifer Kuzma, Ralph Hall, Efrosini Kokkoli, Leili Fatehi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Federal oversight of nanobiotechnology in the U.S. has been fragmented and incremental. The prevailing approach has been to use existing laws and other administrative mechanisms for oversight. However, this "stay-the- course" approach will be inadequate for such a complex and convergent technology and may indeed undermine its promise. The technology demands a new, more dynamic approach to oversight. The authors are proposing a new oversight framework with three essential features: (a) the oversight trajectory needs to be able to move dynamically between "soft" and "hard" approaches as information and nano-products evolve; (b) it needs to integrate inputs from all stakeholders, with strong public engagement in decision-making to assure adequate analysis and transparency; and (c) it should include an overarching coordinating entity to assure strong inter-agency coordination and communication that can meet the challenge posed by the convergent nature of nanobiotechnology. The proposed framework arises from a detailed case analysis of several key oversight regimes relevant to nanobiotechnology and is informed by inputs from experts in academia, industry, NGOs, and government.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1345-1371
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Nanoparticle Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Dynamic oversight
  • Governance
  • Nanobiotechnology
  • Oversight framework
  • Public engagement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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