Machines not bigger than a molecule will one day surf our blood stream, search and destroy infected tissues, and heal our wounds. This is just one of the applications of nanotechnology. EU Research Commissioner Philippe Busquin will chair an information day on nanotech new frontiers in Grenoble, France, on 14 June 2002. Nanotech research is still in its start-up phase, and will be far more effective if co-ordinated and supported at EU level. The Commission will therefore allocate € 700 million to nanotech research within the 6th Research Framework Programme. Without EU measures, the sector in Europe will not reach the break-even point and take off, and different research projects would remain scattered. Already fuelling innovative applications in industries as diverse as information technologies (IT), automotive, cosmetics, chemicals, and packaging, nanotechnology will also bring about new applications and foster the take off of new industry sectors. Amongst the most promising nanotech sectors are energy storage and distribution; detection, measurement and testing; processors and display technologies, bio-analysis and drug delivery, robotics and prosthetics.
"Enterprises cannot do everything on their own" says Commissioner Busquin. "The challenge is so big that it has to be faced by solid public-private partnerships. Public authorities also have to monitor the ethics and social aspects of nanotechnology. The US government is pouring 600 to 700 million dollars per year into this sector. The Commission will respond by allocating more than € 700 million to nanotechnology research over four years within the forthcoming 6th Research Framework Programme (2003-2006). With private sector contributions this amount should rise to € 1 billion".
The nanotechnology information day will take place at CEA-Minatec cutting edge research centre in Grenoble. The event will be a follow up to a EU-US conference on nanotechnology and nano-manufacturing, the third in a series of joint conferences with the US National Science Foundation. The briefing will gather some of the best specialists from research, industry and finance. It will address key scientific, technological, and economic challenges of nanotechnology, and highlight the opportunities for Europe to reach critical mass in this promising new area.
Fabio Fabbi | European Commission
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