Late last year, Australia held a workshop on Nanotechnology and Social Inclusion. On April 23-24 of this year, New Zealand held it’s version, sponsored by government ministries. An evaluation of the "Nanotechnology-Here and Now" workshop was published in May of this year.

The Australian and New Zealand workshops had similair goals, (raising the general level of knowledge about nanotechnology, identification of key issues, discussing current and future opportunities and challenges). But the New Zealand workshops took a different approach by presenting experts on health and safety, nanomedicine, nanobusiness etc via video linkups. Participants could question and discuss ideas and issues with the experts, followed by group discussions. In the evaluations of the workshop afterwards, participants considered the use of video conferencing as effective. Generally, they found the workshops to be useful but didnot lead to any greater understanding of nanotechnology than they had prior to participating in the workshops.  Since this was one the major goals of the workshops, it would seem to indicate that New Zealand’s government may need to revise their presentation strategies. Unfortunately, there has been no indication that New Zealand will present more workshops in the future.

One can only hope that revised workshops such as this will be held in the future, so that accurate information can be given out and public responses gaged, if for no other reason than getting the public to understand what nanotechnology is and what it isn’t.