Risk and Reward: Multi-level Governance and the Development of Nanotechnology Regime in Europe

Abstract

Nanotechnology poses serious questions for policymakers at the local, national, and European levels about how to promote responsible economic growth while also ensuring the health and safety of citizens and protecting the environment. Over the past several decades, governance within the EU has become more complex, with regulatory authority shifting from the sole responsibility of the state to include actors at the European and sub-state levels. This research examines the role that EU institutions, member states, and sub-state actors play in policy development and regulation of nanotechnology. The study analyzes policymaking patterns across countries and explores two case studies Germany and the UK as leaders in nanotechnology regulation. The findings identify why some countries have more comprehensive policies to address the potential risks of nanotechnology than others and what influence these national policies have on broader regulatory development in Europe. Ultimately, this research examines the development of a regional nanotechnology regime as a lens to understand multi-level governance in Europe and how to regulate against the potential risk of new technologies.