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Societal factors affecting on innovative sustainable development of nanotechnology: a morphological approach

Sahar Kousari (Department of Technology and Innovation Policy, National Research Institute for Science Policy, Tehran, Iran)
Sepehr Ghazinoory (Department of Information Technology Management, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran)
Fatemeh Saghafi (Faculty of Management, University of Tehran, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran)


ISSN: 1463-6689

Article publication date: 17 June 2021

Issue publication date: 13 July 2021




This study aims to investigate the probable future scenarios of nanotechnology development and their implications in Iran considering anticipatory knowledge, suitable methodology and integral perspective.


The study used framework morphology, a method for creating scenarios and their implications developed by the Delphi method that covers the consistent morphological space and make contact with previous scenario work, as well as the current and projected research and policy situation in Iran.


The study identified five scenarios, namely, “no nano” scenario headlines picturing a future society that there is no impact of nanotechnology in it. The “nano flow” scenario and indicates prospering nanotechnology in the full sides of the market. The “no nano contact” scenario suspecting that apart from the already banned nanotechnological applications in food, cosmetics, clothes and agricultural applications might bear equally unacceptable risks. The “hidden nano” scenario by pointing out the effects of accidents and crimes traced back to intended or unintended misuse of nanotechnological applications. Then finally, the “red nano” scenario illustration headlines the prospects of medical, energy system efficiency and nanotechnological applications in information and communication technologies.

Practical implications

The policymakers could use the scenarios and their implications as part of its considerations in strategic planning.


This paper represents the first time that a framework for societal implications has been applied to nanotechnology development topic in Iran.



Kousari, S., Ghazinoory, S. and Saghafi, F. (2021), "Societal factors affecting on innovative sustainable development of nanotechnology: a morphological approach", Foresight, Vol. 23 No. 4, pp. 421-438.



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