The Federal Government’s National Enabling Technology Strategy– Public Awareness and Engagement Program (NETS-PACE) ran from February 2010 to June 2013. It was intended to provide ‘balanced’ and ‘factual’ information to “allow the public to make more informed choices about emerging technologies” and “to capture public perspectives, concerns and visions, and inform and influence decision making relevant to science and technology”.
An independent review of the program, which was recently made public, shows they did neither. Instead many of the materials reviewed shamelessly promoted the nanotechnology industry; made only brief reference to potential health and environmental risks; and inaccurately reflected the current lack of regulation. The review also observed a disconnect between key policy decisions and public engagement processes.