Wider Implications of Science and Technology (WIST)
The Wider Implication of Science and Technology (WIST) programme was intended to help Government better prepare for a future in which the safety, health, environmental, ethical, regulatory and social implications of developments in science and technology will have a major influence on whether and how they are used. It was conducted in response to Recommendation 21 of the joint report on nanotechnologies produced by the Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering in July 2004. The WIST programme’s large scale, broad scope, wide range of consultative and engagement processes, and involvement of both stakeholders and the public distinguish it from previous consultative activities about future developments in science and technology.
Views on the safety, health, environmental, ethical, regulatory and social implications of a wide range of new and emerging areas of science and technology were sought. More than 300 stakeholders and organisations were consulted in facilitated workshops and online. In addition, over 3100 members of the public participated in Sciencewise’s programme of public engagement on the future direction of science and technology: sciencehorizons This comprised a deliberative panel, and both facilitated and unmanaged discussions in over 430 events throughout the UK over a period of 6 months. In addition to identifying implications of new and emerging areas of science and technology, views were obtained on how Government should respond whether by legislation, investment, or providing advice. Views were particularly sought on which topics should be considered for further public engagement. The consultations and public engagement activities produced a substantial number of views and opinions which are synthesised in the following report:
Report of WIST findings (PDF, 683 Kb) .
Government is currently in the process of considering what actions to take in response to the WIST findings. We are aiming to report on this towards the end of 2009.