Societal and Ethical Implications (SEI) User Facility in the ASU Center for Nanotechnology in Society



Interdisciplinary B, Room 366
1120 South Cady Mall
Tempe, Arizona 85281





Dr. Jameson Wetmore
(480) 727-0750


Since 2005, ASU has been home to the NSF funded Center for Nanotechnology in Society (CNS). The scholars, skills, and experience gained during that period provide the core of the NCI-SW SEI User Facility. Since the founding of CNS numerous outside scholars have spent anywhere from a day to a semester visiting ASU to learn about these tools and share their own findings. The NCI-SW SEI User Facility offers small travel grants to encourage scholars who want to workshop ideas, get advice before embarking on public engagement projects, or gain experience in skill or approach to anticipatory governance. The core personnel affiliated with this program are listed below. Please contact Jameson Wetmore to discuss a possible visit.

Available Resources

SEI faculty members at ASU have developed tools to help the nano-science community anticipate potential problems,  mitigate them, and amplify benefits. For example, we have developed methods for constructing futures scenarios, programs to cultivate ethical reflection in lab groups, techniques for participatory technology assessment, ways to engage the public in conversations about the social aspects of science and technology, and SEI curricula.


Every summer NCI-SW sponsors a week long “Science Outside the Lab” program on nanotechnology.  Science Outside the Lab brings a small cohort of graduate student scientists and engineers to Washington, D.C. to explore the relationships among science, innovation, and policy. The goal is to expose participants to as many different viewpoints as possible and help them understand how people and institutions influence and learn from science. Participants will meet and interact with congressional staffers, lobbyists, funding agency officers, regulators, journalists, academics, museum curators, and others to learn how and why nanotechnology and other emerging technologies are funded, regulated, shaped, critiqued, and publicized.  Applications for the program are usually requested each winter.


In addition to running SEI at NCI-SW, Jameson Wetmore also serves as Associate Director of the NNCI Coordinating office.  He works to foster SEI collaborations between the numerous universities participating in the NNCI.  The major annual SEI event funded by the coordinating office is the Winter School on the Anticipatory Governance of Emerging Technologies. This annual retreat for graduate students, postdocs, and early career faculty from around the world began in 2013 under the direction of the Center for Nanotechnology in Society. The successful program has not only trained over 75 young researchers, it has helped to create a community of scholars interested in the topic and has had a positive impact on their careers. NNCI has now assumed leadership of the winter school to continue to train 15-20 students per year in the latest social science techniques for analyzing the social change and policy implications of nanotechnology and other emerging technologies. The 10 day training program will be held each January, usually in Arizona, and will draw upon the SEI User Facility at ASU. Announcements will be made soliciting applications for the program each fall.

NCI-SW SEI User Facility Personnel

Jameson M. Wetmore has a background in science and technology studies and develops methods to see and reflect on the values embedded in scientific and technological decisions. He is Co-Director of the Center for Engagement and Training in Science and Society (CENTSS) and Associate Director for Engagement of the Center for Nanotechnology in Society (CNS)


Ira Bennett uses his background as a chemist and subsequent training in the social sciences to connect scientists with the public to inform public policy. He is Co-Director of CENTSS and Assistant Director for Education of CNS


David Guston is a world leader in the social studies of emerging technologies. He serves as Director of the Center for Nanotechnology in Society at ASU and editor of the Journal of Responsible Innovation.


Erik Fisher focuses on “Socio-technical Integration Research,” a program that embeds social scientists and humanities scholars in laboratories to increase reflexivity. He is Associate Director of Integration at CNS and Co-PI of the NSF-funded Virtual Institute for Responsible Innovation (VIRI)


Cynthia Selin’s work focuses on developing and using tools to help us anticipate and reflect on possible futures. She serves as Associate Director of Anticipation at CNS.