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Meridian Institute

Global Dialogue on Nanotechnology and the Poor

Related: Environment and Natural Resources, Health, Resilience, Science and Technology

Nanotechnology, which encompasses a broad range of tools, techniques, and applications, is widely perceived as one of the most significant technologies of the 21st century. Products developed with nanotechnology or that incorporate nanoscale materials are already on the market. Regulatory agencies, companies, civil society organizations, and other stakeholders are becoming aware of the potentially far-reaching implications of nanotechnology as the science evolves and applications proliferate.


With support from the Rockefeller Foundation (US), the International Development Research Centre (Canada), and the UK Department for International Development, Meridian Institute convened the Global Dialogue on Nanotechnology and the Poor (GDNP): Opportunities and Risks. The GDNP sought to:

  • Raise awareness about the implications of nanotechnology for the poor
  • Catalyze actions that address specific opportunities and risks, especially those of significance to developing countries
  • Identify ways that science and technology can play an appropriate role in the development process

In January 2005, during the GDNP’s first phase, Meridian developed and published a paper to raise awareness about the implications of nanotechnology for poor people, both the potential opportunities and risks. The paper (with and without graphics) can be accessed here.


The second phase of the GDNP involved three primary activities (click on the links for more information):

  • Nanotechnology and Development News. This free daily news service was launched in 2005 and continues today. Nanotechnology and Development News covers the most important global developments at the nexus of nanotechnology, poverty alleviation, and the role of science and technology in development.
  • Workshop on Nanotechnology, Water, and Development. In October 2006, Meridian convened and facilitated a three-day workshop in Chennai, India, on issues at the intersection of nanotechnology, water, and development.
  • Workshop on Nanotechnology, Commodities, and Development. In May 2007, Meridian convened and facilitated a workshop in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on issues relating to nanotechnology, commodities, and development.

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