the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

Search form

Emerging Technologies Committee Lays Out Principles for Guidance

Summary: 
Innovation with respect to emerging technologies—such as nanotechnology, synthetic biology, and genetic engineering—requires not only coordinated research and development but also appropriate and balanced oversight.

Innovation with respect to emerging technologies—such as nanotechnology, synthetic biology, and genetic engineering—requires not only coordinated research and development but also appropriate and balanced oversight.  To help ensure such balance, the White House Emerging Technologies Interagency Policy Coordination Committee (ETIPC) last week released a memorandum to the heads of executive departments and agencies outlining broad principles to guide the development and implementation of policies for oversight of emerging technologies at the agency level.    

The Principles reflect the Committee’s goal of striking a balance in which novel technologies are subject to oversight that is adequate to protect public health and the environment but not so daunting as to unduly slow innovation or the development of those new technologies.

To advance this goal, the ETIPC lays out principles in the following categories:

  • Scientific Integrity
  • Public Participation
  • Communication
  • Benefits and costs
  • Flexibility
  • Risk Assessment and Risk Management
  • Coordination
  • International Cooperation
  • Regulation

For more information on the ETIPC, or the newly released Principles for Regulation and Oversight of Emerging Technologies, read this memo released by the three co-chairs.

Travis Earles is Assistant Director for Nanotechnology in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy