Research and Reports

The reports are results of research projects into the attitudes of members of the community in relation to the implementation of enabling technologies and the awareness of these technologies. These research projects focus on key issues in enabling technologies, nanotechnology and biotechnology.

Some of the reports shown on this page are available online only as PDF files. If you are unable to access these, please contact us and we will send an alternative version. 

Nanotechnology Research

Community Awareness

Community Awareness Survey 2012

In March 2013 the Government released Community attitudes “Community attitudes towards emerging technology issues – Nanotechnology”. The research examined the public’s existing attitudes and understanding of nanotechnology, including its current uses and sources of trusted information on the issues.

Sun Screen use survey

In January 2012, the department conducted a survey on the awareness and perception of Australians on the use of sunscreens containing nanoparticles. 

Community Awareness Survey 2011

In August 2011 the Government released "Australian Community Attitudes Held about Nanotechnology – Trends 2005-2011". This public awareness survey was commissioned to assess the Australian public's knowledge of and views about nanotechnology, and compares the changes of public attitudes towards nanotechnology from 2005, 2008, 2009 and 2011. This survey supersedes the former report released in 2010 (see below).

Community Awareness Survey 2010

In February 2010, the Government released "Australian Community Attitudes Held about Nanotechnology – Trends 2005-2010". The video is presented by Dr Craig Cormick, Manager of the Public Awareness section of the National Enabling Technologies Strategy.  

Industry Awareness Survey (2005-2006)

Industry surveys were carried out in 2005 and 2006 to gauge the level of awareness and understanding of nanotechnology issues among targeted firms with a potential interest in nanotechnology. Both the 2005 and the 2006 surveys were undertaken jointly by the Department of Innovation and Nanotechnology Victoria.

Public Engagement

Communicating with citizens about nanotechnologies: Views of key stakeholders in Australia (2010)

A report of the findings from nationwide consultation into nanotechnologies and public communication and engagement in Australia. The consultation consisted of interviews with a range of stakeholders, including scientists and representatives from industry, government and non-government organisations (NGOs).

The aim was to look at what key stakeholders think should to be conveyed to the various publics, and the form and means it should be done in. The report details participants’ perspectives on the meaning of both ‘public engagement’ and ‘upstream public engagement’, the challenges (if any) in communicating with publics about nanotechnologies, and the relationship between participants’ perspectives and international efforts, as well as emerging best-practice models for public engagement.

Biotechnology Research

Research prior to June 2008 was conducted by Biotechnology Australia, which ceased operation on June 30, 2008.

Community Awareness 

Community Awareness Survey 2012

Community Attitudes towards Emerging TechnoloIn March 2013 the Government released Community attitudes “Community attitudes towards emerging technology issues – Biotechnology”. The report provides a review of the public’s understanding and attitudes toward Genetically Modified food, along with a demographic breakdown of those opinions. Other areas covered in the survey include opinions towards food regulation, and other uses of biotechnology such as stem cells. 

Community Attitudes to Biotechnology 2010


Public Attitudes to Biotechnology in Australia was released on 25 October 2010, as the Government's findings from the 2010 survey into the Australian public's attitudes towards biotechnology. The survey reveals that consistent with the 2007 findings the public continues to support biotechnologies that provide health or environmental benefits.

Support for genetically modified (GM) foods has dropped since 2007 and is the least supported of the biotechnologies. Despite this the perceived the benefits of GM foods still outweighs the risks and GM foods receive more public support than foods containing preservatives and foods grown with pesticides. 

Other biotechnologies of key interest to the public include genetic modification (GM), cloning, stem cell research and using organisms to clean up pollution. Other key findings include an increased public trust of Australian regulators and a drop in perceived value of using biotechnologies to address climate change and to produce biofuels.

Community Attitudes to Biotechnology 2007

Community Attitudes to Biotechnology 2005

Community Attitudes to Biotechnology 2003

Community Attitudes to Biotechnology 1999

Biotechnology Developments

Agricultural Biotechnology Developments: Past, Present and Future

This 2008 publication explains the use of biotechnology in agriculture and related industries, focusing on Australian examples. Each section contains background information, a timeline of developments, potential applications, current research areas, issues and future directions. Words printed in bold text are defined in the glossary at the end of the publication.

Issues in Biotechnology

Hopeful Journeys: Experiences of Stem Cell Treatments Offered Outside Australia (2010)

This report details findings from a nationwide study of the experiences of patients and carers who have travelled overseas for stem cell therapies, a practice often referred to as ‘stem cell tourism’. The principal aim of this project was to identify what the are key factors in the decision of Australian patients to travel overseas for stem cell treatments not currently available at home (largely because they are experimental or (scientifically) unproven). 


In 2011/12, a review of the National Enabling Technologies Strategy’s Public Awareness and Community Engagement (NETS-PACE) materials and events was conducted, with assessment by a review panel and input from other experts.

The review covered a set of materials and events produced, conducted or sponsored by NETS–PACE from 2007–2011. The Department of Industry has responded to the Review recommendations and those of the National Enabling Technologies Strategy Stakeholder Advisory Council. The NETS-PACE Program ended on 30 June 2013.

To assist the Review with the technical aspects of the Terms of Reference of the Review, advice was provided by the following experts as well as comments from the review panel*:

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