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NDSU research paper examines attitudes about nanotechnology

Rajani Ganesh-Pillai, NDSU assistant professor of marketing, and Achintya Bezbaruah, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, co-wrote a paper, “Perceptions and Attitude Effects on Nanotechnology Acceptance: An Exploratory Framework,” that was accepted for publication in the Journal of Nanoparticle Research.

The paper looks at the public’s feelings toward nanotechnology, proposing an exploratory framework for a more comprehensive understanding about attitudes and the acceptance of nanotechnology. The paper addresses the most current global issues related to sustainability of nanotechnology from a societal perspective.

Nanotechnology often includes the manipulation of individual molecules or atoms at a scale smaller than 100 nanometers. A nanometer is one billionth of a meter.

Despite a vast body of informative research about people’s attitude towards nanotechnology, a comprehensive understanding of how attitudes toward nanotechnology are formed and the factors influencing nanotechnology acceptance are elusive. The paper proposes a Nanotechnology Perception-Attitude-Acceptance Framework to build a systematic understanding of the phenomenon. It integrates research from social science, communication of science and consumer behavior with existing understanding of nanotechnology. The framework also makes practical suggestions for policy and decision makers, manufacturers and researchers of nanotechnology products.

Ganesh-Pillai, who joined the NDSU College of Business faculty in 2008, received NDSU’s Peltier Award for Teaching Innovation in 2015 and the Eisele Teaching fellow award in the College of Business in 2016. She lists consumer judgment, decision making, risk perception, innovation and consumer choice among her research interests. She recently developed a Business-STEM interdisciplinary research program, which has contributed to NDSU’s Grand Challenge Initiative.

She earned her bachelor’s degree and Master of Business Administration at the University of Pune, India; Master of Business Administration from Emporia State University, Kansas; and doctorate from the University of Central Florida.

Bezbaruah started at NDSU’s civil and environmental engineering department in 2005. His research team extensively works on nano-based products, including surface-modified nanoparticles for groundwater remediation and green fertilizer and insecticide development. The current work published in the Journal of Nanoparticle Research will help evaluate people’s acceptance of the team’s patented phosphate and iron fertilizers and plant fortifiers. Bezbaruah was awarded the College of Engineering’s Researcher of the Year Award in 2014. He also serves in the national governing body of Sustainable Nanotechnology Organization in Washington, D.C.

Bezbaruah received his bachelor’s degree from Assam Engineering College in India and master’s degree from Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay. He went to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for his doctoral research and worked for AECOM, formerly URS Corp., before joining NDSU.

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