For nanotechnology decisions, use decision analysis

Igor Linkov, Matthew E. Bates, Benjamin D. Trump, Thomas Seager, Mark A. Chappell, Jeffrey M. Keisler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Management of nanotechnology is rife with complicated, contentious, and risky decisions. These decisions involve significant uncertainty, multiple stakeholder groups, competing objectives, and dynamic, non-linear interdependencies which test the limits of unaided human judgment. In the past, formal methods of risk analysis have been used to evaluate new technologies, but these methods ignore decision-relevant qualitative information and rely on a volume of quantitative engineering and scientific data that simply does not exist for many nanomaterials. Yet, we know that robust production decisions need to be holistic and based on all available information if we are to minimize negative externalities to society, human health, and the environment. We discuss how the use of decision analytical methods such as Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis and value of information analysis can help to fill existing gaps in nanomaterial risk management to make the best use of all available qualitative and quantitative information and prioritize future research based on expected decision relevance. This will help nanoparticle scientists and manufacturers to better develop and identify optimal materials and production methods in the midst of high uncertainty.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-10
Number of pages6
JournalNano Today
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2013


  • Decision analysis
  • Green nano manufacturing
  • Health and safety
  • Risk

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • Pharmaceutical Science


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