Politics of nanotechnology innovation in Asia-Pacific: tiny technology meets transnational governance

Event details


Date & time

Tuesday 09 July 2019


Seminar Room 1.04, Coombs Extension Building #8, ANU
ANU Canberra


Kirsten Rodine-Hardy


School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet)

Over 60 countries in the global economy established new national nanotechnology initiatives in the early 2000s, including many countries in the Asia-Pacific region. While some studies have focused on sweeping global trends in scientific developments, others have focused more on national trends or specific industries related to nanotechnology. Many of these studies overlook how transnational governance at the regional level, e.g. the Asia Nano Forum, links up with national policies to drive nanotechnology innovation. My paper fills this gap by analysing how transnational diffusion networks at the regional level interact with national politics to influence policies of promotion or regulation of emerging technologies.

Extending the framework from my book, Nanotechnology: Regulation at the Nexus of Environmental Politics and National Security (Stanford University Press, 2020) I analyse and compare how transnational networks (regulator, harmonisation, information and private) operate in the Asia-Pacific region, and which seem to have the most important and influential activity. Next, I conduct a comparative case-analysis of key countries in the Asia-Pacific region that created different nanotechnology rules during the time period of 2000-2016.

I find that the nano-policies across the region have been framed through business-friendly languages, as opposed to those that focus more on environmental health and safety concerns. The paper emphasizes how, when, and to what extent political factors at multiple levels of governance can accelerate or block policy change. I integrate policy recommendations from multiple disciplines and suggest possible opportunities to build bridges among communities. This research fills important gaps in the literature on global markets in developing countries, specifically how the politics of emerging technologies affect the environment, health, and economic justice.

About the speaker

Kirsten Rodine-Hardy is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Northeastern University, where she teaches international political economy, comparative politics and research methods. She studied at UC Berkeley (PhD 2005), Georgetown University (MSFS 1990), and Brown University (BA 1988), and has lived in France, the Czech Republic (1990-1994) and Burkina Faso, West Africa. She studies the intersection of politics, markets, and new technologies, and wrote Global Markets and Government Regulation in Telecommunications (2013, Cambridge University Press) and the forthcoming Nanotechnology: Regulation at the Nexus of Environmental Politics and International Security (2019, Stanford University Press). Her work has been funded by the National Science Foundation and the Office of Naval Research. Her next project focuses on the politics of global health, and relationships between technologies, environmental justice and democracy. She sings in a choir and loves to explore the outdoors with her two kids and beloved black Labrador. The best way to reach her is email krodinehardy@gmail.com or twitter @krodinehardyhttp://www.kirstenrodinehardy.com

Updated:  10 August 2017/Responsible Officer:  Director, RegNet/Page Contact:  Director, RegNet