Brussels, 21 November 2007
Policy-makers, scientists and industrialists will come together in Braga, Portugal today to discuss the future of nanotechnology research in Europe. This comes at a positive time for European nanotechnology, with the public-private research partnerships for nanoelectronics and embedded systems close to becoming a reality, the European Commission identified as being the single largest investor in nanotechnology research, and a recently-completed public consultation on the principles for responsible nanotechnology research. But it is important to maintain momentum if Europe is not to miss the opportunities to be offered by this exciting area of science and technology.
"These new public-private research partnerships are a real opportunity for Europe to take a vital step forward in the development of this exciting area of research, which is so important to our digital future," said Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for Information Society and Media, at the High-Level Nanotechnologies Conference. "These technologies underpin so many applications, from fridges to airplanes that their importance will only continue to grow in the future. That's why Europe crucially needs to remain strong in these areas for our future prosperity."
"Nanosciences and nanotechnologies have the potential to drive growth and jobs in Europe, so it is our duty to make sure that they are developed in a positive, responsible way," said European Science and Research Commissioner Janez Potočnik. "The possible applications of nanotechnology are huge and they have an important role to play in our future economic well-being and quality of life. So it is of the utmost importance that we get it right when it comes to their governance. This is why we will be issuing a recommendation on Code of Conduct for Responsible Nanosciences and Nanotechnologies Research, to promote safe and ethical research on nanotechnology and to pave the way for its effective and responsible application and use."
Both Commissioners will attend the conference, which will over the three days welcome some of the top names in nanotechnology research from across Europe. A wide range of issues relating to nanotechnologies will be discussed, including the industry perspective, various applications (e.g. electronics, medicine, manufacturing), latest scientific advances.
It is hoped that this week's Competitiveness Council, with research ministers from all Member States, will give the approval to 4 Joint Technology Initiatives, public-private partnerships to boost industrial research. Of these four, two – nanoelectronics (ENIAC) and embedded systems (ARTEMIS) will be very important for the development of the nanotechnology industry in Europe.
The EU is also looking to international partnerships in nanotechnology. For example, a joint EU-India nanotechnology research fund was announced earlier this month, with €10 million to allow the best institutions in India and the EU to work together in this field.
For the most recent developments in nanosciences and nanotechnology:
IP/07/1321 on the Nanotechnology Action Plan
IP/07/1140 on the consultation on responsible research