Staff B. Walhout (Bart)

PhD researcher
Ravelijn room RA 4301

Bart Walhout
PO Box 217
NL - 7500 AE Enschede

E-mail: a.m.walhout (at)
Telephone: (053) 489 4235/3353
Fax: (053) 489 2159


Bart Walhout is researching governance processes, frameworks and discourses of emerging technologies. At the University of Twente he is working on the project “Practices, Institutionalisation and Impact of Responsible Innovation in Nanotechnology”, which is part of the Risk Analysis & Technology Assessment (RATA) theme of the research consortium NanoNextNL. Before Bart has been working as a Technology Assessment (TA) practitioner at the Rathenau Institute, the Dutch parliamentary TA organization. At this institute he has been working on nanotechnology, synthetic biology, ambient intelligence in relation to discussions about converging technologies. Bart Walhout has a background in innovation policy studies and radio electronics. He has a special interest in the political dynamics of new and emerging science and technology (NEST).


Started at September 2011 I am studying the quest for ‘responsible innovation’ in nanotechnology as my PhD research. The notion of ‘responsible innovation’ or ‘responsible development’ has become a widespread concern in the context of emerging nanotechnologies, especially in policy context. There are instances of responsible innovation already, like the development of codes of conduct, the setting up of public engagement processes, the willingness of firms and laboratories to be transparent. I will investigate whether actual practices of ‘doing responsible innovation’ spread and stabilize, i.e. become institutionalized, or turn out to be merely transitory phenomena. I want to know to what extent and how responsible development has evolved as a rhetorical practice and as more substantial practices related to research, development or production and to what extent and how this affects ongoing innovation processes. This may turn out differently for different sectors, levels and/or national contexts.

Closely related to my PhD research is my work for the FP7 project Res-AGorA. The goal of the Res-AGorA project is to create a governance framework for Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI), an overarching policy and research theme in the European Horizon2020 programme. I am involved in conceptual development (WP2) and the empirical program (WP3).


Individual classes in:

  • Fundamentals of Nanotechnology (Societal Aspects)
  • Societal embedding of nanotechnology (Responsible Innovation, Risk Governance)
  • Analysing technology in societal context (Technology Assessment)


Member of the Netherlands Graduate School of Science, Technology and Modern Culture (WTMC), with a local program in Governance of Knowledge and Innovation of the Twente Graduate School.

Other activities

Contract research ‘Roles and responsibilities in nanosafety governance in the Netherlands’, commissioned by the Rathenau Institute.


Papers and chapters

Selected project publications of the Rathenau Institute (download at

Nanotechnology and NBIC-convergence:

  • Walhout, B. et al. (2010) Nanogeneeskunde in Nederland / available in English as Nanomedicine in The Netherlands. The Hague, Rathenau Instituut
  • Swierstra, T. et al. (2009) Leven als Bouwpakket. Kampen, Klement 2009 / available in English as special issue of Nano Ethics, no 3. 2009
  • Walhout, B. et al. (2009) Flux Magazine no. 2: special issue on nanotechnology
  • Walhout, B. et al (2009) Nanotechnologie in Nederland (2009) / available in English as Nanotechnology in The Netherlands. The Hague, Rathenau Instituut
  • Hanssen, L. et al. (2008) Tien lessen voor een nanodialoog / available in English as Ten lessons for a nanodialogue. The Hague, Rathenau Instituut

Synthetic Biology:

  • Van Est, R. et al. (2007) Nieuw leven in het biodebat / available in English as The world of Synthetic Biology (message to parliament) The Hague, Rathenau Instituut
  • De Vriend, H. et al. (2007) Leven maken / available in English as Constructing Life. The Hague, Rathenau Instituut 2006

Ambient Intelligence:

  • Schuurman, J. et al. (2007) Ambient Intelligence: Toekomst van de zorg of zorg van de toekomst? / available in English as Ambient intelligence: Viable future or dangerous illusion? The Hague, Rathenau Instituut