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Brussels, 30 July 2004

How big is nanotechnology for Europe? The Commission launches an open consultation

The Commission is launching a wide consultation on its Communication “Towards a European Strategy for Nanotechnology” in which it proposed an integrated and responsible approach for developing nanosciences and nanotechnologies in Europe. All interested people are encouraged to take part by directly writing to the Commission ( by the 30th September 2004 or via an on-line questionnaire ( This consultation will help to shape future initiatives in Europe, always with an eye on applications and implications at global level. Nanotechnology is anticipated as the possible key for a next industrial revolution.

“Europe must build upon the solid knowledge base that it has developed through research in nanosciences and nanotechnologies and translate this into useful and commercially viable products and services. At the same time we must play a proactive role for ensuring its safe and responsible development and use, also at global level.” European Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin said. “It now important to gather the views of all stakeholders in order to help prepare effective and efficient future initiatives at European level.”

What is nanotechnology?

Nanotechnology is a new approach to research and development for controlling the fundamental structure and behaviour of matter at the level of atoms and molecules. Applications are emerging in many different areas such as health care, information technologies, materials sciences, manufacturing, instrumentation, energy, security or space. Nanotechnology has great potential for improving our quality of life, the competitiveness of European industry and sustainable development.

Putting nanotechnology on the agenda

Nanotechnology has been high on the political agenda since the publication of the Commission’s Communication. Discussions were initiated already in the European Council under the Irish Presidency, are continuing under the Dutch Presidency and will be concluded later this year. An “Action Plan” will follow. The Communication has been downloaded over 5,000 times from the Commission’s website ( It is now crucial to obtain the views of a wide range of stakeholders and interested people.

How do I take part?

A dedicated email box ( was set-up in order to collect responses. In the meantime, the European Union-funded thematic network “Nanoforum” ( has launched a structured online survey. This takes about 15 minutes to complete and addresses a wide range of issues related to the Communication. Based upon the outcome of this survey, a report will be prepared, published and freely downloadable.


Nanoforum is a thematic network funded by the European Union, aiming to promote and raise the standard of nanotechnology activities throughout Europe. Nanoforum provides extensive information, organises several initiatives and produces studies. It is coordinated by the Institute of Nanotechnology (UK) and includes VDI Technologiezentrum (DE), CEA-LETI (FR), CMP Cientifica (ES), Nordic Nanotech (DK) and Malsch TechnoValuation (NL).

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