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Abstract

In the context of the development of nanotechnologies, policy making faces specific challenges, because of the nature of the technologies themselves, and because of the evolution of international governance. Policymakers need to integrate these parameters, but their task is made difficult by the number of different coexisting frameworks and by the way stakeholders use them. This survey outlines these frameworks and draws from new institutional theory as well as from the policy and innovation literatures, to discuss the challenges of nano policy making. In a first part, the survey introduces nano policy making and the reasons for its complexity, and offeres a panorama of mandatory tools used to regulate nanotechnologies. In this second part, the focus is on the additional governance devices that some stakeholders decide to adopt on a voluntary basis. This outline is followed by a discussion of the use of all tools – mandatory and voluntary – by the different stakeholders. The paper concludes by debating two major directions which nano policy making may follow.