Nanomaterials – Possibilities and Risks of a New Dimension

Nanomaterials - their possibilities and risks focusing on research of and with young people including gender aspects

Nanotechnology is often referred to as the key technology of the 21st century. However, possible impacts on human health and the environment are still insufficiently examined. Simultaneously, as increasingly more products containing nanomaterials are entering consumer markets, more people get into contact with them.

The project “Nanomaterials – Possibilities and Risks of a New Dimension” focuses at daily and practical experiences of students with nanomaterials: After researching the basics of nanotechnology and discussing with nanoscientists, the students explore – supported by scientists and experts – approaches of assessing the societal and individual dealing of nanomaterials. Particularly, the focus would be put on risk communication – first and foremost targeting young people and emphasizing gender aspects. School classes would perform peer interviews and analyse a survey on existing knowledge and attitudes of their colleagues as well as their use of nanoproducts. Using up-to-date communication and information material risk communication would be analysed regarding their adequacy for young people.

On this basis students together with scientists was developed two modules on risk perception und risk assessment of nanomaterials (card-supported discussion method and role play). Ethical and social aspects of “nano and environment” would be discussed appropriately for young people in class. At the same time the requirements of an age-based risk communication with young people would be investigated through a qualitative social science approach.

At the “Young Researchers Conference” Students and scientists was presented their results and discussed approaches of assessing possibilities and risks of nanomaterials.

This project has been completed.