The research project will:
-draw on existing literature and interviews with relevant experts (UK and international) to identify those applications and areas of research and development that will likely give rise to significant environmental benefits. As well as the benefits of specific environmental technologies which may employ nanotechnologies, the project should examine the environmental and economic efficiency benefits that might occur through product supply chains (‘dematerialisation’ benefits). The analysis should seek to describe and quantify the potential benefits, and should include a discussion of the benefits relative to other technologies capable of addressing the same environmental challenges (e.g. what is the business case for investing in specific nanotechnologies, as opposed to micro-technologies, to develop more efficient photovoltaic cells?);
-identify areas of environmental policy that will potentially be affected by the these developments and analyse the implications. In particular, the research team should consider implications for sustainable consumption production (SCP), waste and energy, but should not be restricted to these categories;
-for those applications and areas of research showing greatest potential to benefit the environment, identify and discuss potential barriers/failures that may negatively affect the realisation of the benefits. These might include, for example, potential environmental and human health risks; a lack of information about the nature and extent of the future market for environmental technologies; the uncertain nature of public confidence about nanotechnologies; intellectual property rights; or a lack of directed funding for appropriate research, development, demonstration and market replication . It should be made clear where barriers are generic or specific to nanotechnologies; and
-consider the potential role of a workshop at which a wide range of stakeholders might discuss the above issues. The deliberations would be reflected in the final report.