Understanding, Knowledge and Perception of Nanotechnology among Private Universities Students in Malaysia

Md. Ershadul Karim1,*, Shafia Akhter2, Abu Bakar Munir1,
Firdaus Muhammad-Sukki3, Kazi Enamul Hoque4, Siti Hajar Mohd Yasin5,
Siti Sarah Abu-Bakar6, Siti Hawa Abu-Bakar7, Nurul Aini Bani8,
Asan Vernyuy Wirba9, Abdullahi Abubakar Mas’ud10

Abstract – Modern day policy making demands to include citizens in the decision making process and this is crucial before the introduction of any emerging technology such as nanotechnology, the science and art of manipulating things at the atomic scale. Even though there is no comprehensive governing regulation, there are already more than 1600 consumer products in the market and thousands more are in the pipeline. Some European countries have already initiated some steps to regulate it. However, before taking any such step, this is important to assess citizen’s view about this technology. This study aims at studying the knowledge, understanding, and perception of 490 students from four private higher education institutes of Malaysia. A questionnaire was distributed in this regard and it has been revealed that though there are some concerns as to the risk, a considerable number of students are aware of the term ‘nanotechnology’ (63.46%) and the presence of a number of consumer products in the market. More than 72% are in favour of its application and introduction in different sectors. However, the students do not possess sufficient knowledge about nanotechnology, and only 6% of the respondents claimed that they know this emerging technology very well, whereas, 49.38% replied that they know little and 33.26% only heard the term, but do not know about it.

Keywords – Nanotechnology and nanoscience, enabling and emerging technology, public perception, policy and regulation, risk and safety

1 Faculty of Law, University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
2 Faculty of Languages & Linguistics, University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
3 School of Engineering, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, AB10 7GJ, Scotland, United Kingdom
4 Faculty of Education, University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
5 Faculty of Law, Universiti Teknologi MARA, 40450 Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia
6 The Dickson Poon School of Law, King’s College London, London, WC2R 2LS, United Kingdom
7 Universiti Kuala Lumpur British Malaysian Institute, 53100, Gombak, Selangor, Malaysia
8 Razak Faculty of Technology and Informatics, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia Kuala Lumpur, 54100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
9 Department of Management Information Technology, Jubail Industrial College, P O Box 10099, Saudi Arabia
10 Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Jubail Industrial College, P O Box 10099, Saudi Arabia

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