Capability, governance, and nanotechnology developments: a focus on India

The domain of nano science and nanotechnology has witnessed large-scale engagements from both developing and developed nations. This emerging technology due to its complexity, wide applicability and transformative nature needs to be understood holistically and by looking at the all the facets that it embodies. Therefore various dimensions that range from developments across national and international platforms, capacity building initiatives and challenges, opportunities for aiding socio-economic development to multidimensional risk and regulatory imperatives as well as science and society interfaces need to be addressed. This might ensure that policies for the sustainable development of nanotechnology are developed as the technology evolves.

In the following backdrop, the Science and Technology Area of TERI in 2007, began a three year project on Capability, governance, and nanotechnology developments: a focus on India to examine various aspects of developing country capability needed to (i) respond to nanotechnology (NT) challenges, (ii) engage with NT developments and debates, and (iii) help establish an innovative governance framework.


Although the project had a focus on India, it had a strong component on global developments and debates. It adopted a research-cum-stakeholder oriented approach to identifying and addressing concerns around nanotechnology development in India, with each feeding into another.

Drawing from a mix of methods, including multi-stakeholder dialogues, cross sectional surveys, key interviews, desk reviews, focus group discussions, the TERI project involved research on a range of issues relating to capability, innovation, developments, risks, regulation and governance.



  • A review of international nanotechnology developments and policy concerns
    Full report
  • A review of NT developments as applicable to developing countries.
    Full report
  • A report on risks from a developing country perspective.
    Full report
  • Nanotechnology developments in India - a status report.
    Full report
  • A report on Regulatory Challenges posed by nanotechnology Developments in India.
    Full report
  • A conceptual framework to assess national capability to respond to NT developments.
    Full report
  • A report on multi level governance (MLG) framework for nanotechnology.
    Full report
  • Issues involved in Life Cycle Analysis of nanoproducts: a case study of nanosilver based candle filter
  • Briefing paper on nanotechnology development in India: the need for building capability and governing the technology.

Stakeholder dialogues

  • Workshop on IPRs in Nanotechnology: Issues, Trends and Challenges for India", was held on 28 January 2010
  • Stakeholder workshop on "Issues of Risk in the Regulation of Nanotechnology" was held on 8 January 2010
  • National Conference on Nanotechnology and Regulatory Issues was jointly organized with Calcutta University on January 9th and 10th 2009
  • DSDS special event on "Emerging technologies in developing countries- Capabilities and governance issues" was held on 4th February 2009
  • Roundtable discussion on "Nanotechnology and Development", 8th October 2007
  • Workshop on "Science Society Interface in Emerging Technologies" 27-28th March 2008


Nano News Flash
During the project's first stakeholder meeting and roundtable discussion organized by TERI on October 8th, 2007, it emerged that there is a large information gap with respect to developments taking place in nanotechnology in India. In response to this, TERI developed the Nano Newsflash, a monthly news service, containing the latest news and developments in this sector in India.

To read the latest updates on national nanotechnology scenario, click here.

Sponsors: The International Development Research Centre, Canada
Duration: 3 years


  • Achieve a better understanding of the opportunities and risks that nanotechnology presents to India and other developing countries
  • Assess the key determinants of capability to respond to NT challenges
  • Provide a platform to share information on nanotechnology science and policy issues and create a dialogue between scientists, development professionals, industry, and policy makers in India to address environmental, social and economic impacts of this technology so as to understand the risks and opportunities it presents
  • Contribute to a multi level governance framework
  • Contribute to shaping a responsive policy framework given that the technology is still evolving