Cefic-lri Programme | European Chemical Industry Council

S1-WAG: Safety Perceptions of New Technologies (SPOT) – making social and natural sciences meet

Principal Investigator

Dr. Amber Ronteltap
P.O. Box 35
6700 AA Wageningen
The Netherlands
Tel: +31 317 484432
Fax: +31 317 484490


Dr. Arnout Fischer, Marketing and Consumer Behaviour Group (MCB), Wageningen University and Research Centre
Dr. Hilde Tobi, Research Methodology Group (RMG), Wageningen University and Research Centre


Many new technologies’ introductions have been hindered by societal negativity regarding their development, application and commercialisation. Whilst considerable research activity has been directed towards understanding the underlying determinants of societal acceptance emerging technologies, this has been done on a case by case basis. Hence there is a need to harmonise existing knowledge and identify the optimal methodological approaches to understand and predict technology acceptance.

The aim of the research project is to systematically review existing methodological approaches to understanding consumer/citizen responses to emerging technologies (for example, nanotechnology) and to identify gaps in knowledge/principles of best practice.

To answer the central question, the following sub-objectives will be addressed:

– To identify the most appropriate social science methodologies and barriers to citizen/consumer acceptance of emerging technologies,
– To survey existing approaches to identify social science aspects that are considered by the natural sciences and integrated into safety
– To identify the current situation of public acceptance of nanotechnology and its determinants as well as possible future scenarios

The above sub-objectives will help build a generalised overview of successes and failures of integrating social science aspects into natural science technology assessments as well as an actual description of the social factors relevant to nanotechnology. This will in turn lead to the fulfilment of the final sub-objective:

– To provide indications how to guide (nano)technology management and stakeholder dialogue strategies for the development and application of new technologies more broadly

Related Publications


Arnout R H Fischer, Hilde Tobi and Amber Ronteltap, 2012. When Natural met Social: A Review of Collaboration between the Natural and Social Sciences. Interdisciplinary Science Reviews. 2012. Vol 36(4), 341-58.

Amber Ronteltap, Arnout R. H. Fischer, Hilde Tobi, 2011. Societal response to nanotechnology: converging technologies-converging societal response research? J Nanopart Res, 13:4399-4410


Research project summaries:


Societal introduction of nanotechnology by A. Ronteltap, A.R.H. Fischer, H. Tobi and E.M. van Mil

Natural-social science interaction is needed to provide determinants for societal response to nanotechnology by by A. Ronteltap, A.R.H. Fischer, H. Tobi and E.M. van Mil

Making social and natural sciences meet: Implications for the introduction of nanotechnology into society by A. Ronteltap, A. Fischer, H. Tobi and E. van Mil


Making Social and Natural Sciences Meet: Implications for the introdution of nanotechnology into society by Amber Ronteltap, Arnout Fischer and Hilde Tobi



Timeline: June 2009 > December 2009

LRI funding: €50,000

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