UK Nanotechnology Knowledge Transfer Network supports €1 billion EC investment in technology

17 September 2009

The Nanotechnology Knowledge Transfer Network (NanoKTN), one of the UK’s primary knowledge-based networks for Micro and Nanotechnologies, has announced its support for the €1bn that has been made available by the European Commission for new projects, through its Information Communications Technology (ICT) and Nanoscience, Nanotechnology, Materials and New Production Processes (NMP) funds, as part of the EU's Framework Programme 7.

Over the next nine months, several funding calls have been scheduled to support and encourage the development of research and production in the micro and nanotechnology markets. The UK is widely expected to benefit greatly form this investment.

The European Commission has launched the funding opportunities to improve the competitiveness of European Industry and to ensure Europe is able to shape future developments to meet the demands of society and economy. The European Commission aims to strengthen Europe's Science and Technology base and guarantee global leadership in the market. The Framework 7 Programme is the main mechanism to enable this through a combination of investments which harnesses the collective expertise of the EU member states and other participating countries.

“European Framework Programme 7 enables organizations, through collaborative research and development, to access new partners, skills and knowledge in the development of their future products and services,” explains the FP7UK National Contact Point for NMP, Dr. Alastair McGibbon.

McGibbon continued, “Each year the European Commission awards more than €250m to collaborative projects which are underpinned by nanotechnology. The European Commission has announced their calls for proposals launched this year, covering many important nanotechnology end-markets. The UK has a wealth of academic and industrial expertise and we are confident that the latest funding calls will help to bring together leading professionals in the micro and nanotechnology markets and develop European projects with impact on a global scale.”

The ICT initiative aims to help drive and stimulate product service and process innovation through ICT use and value creation in Europe. By doing this, the European Commission aims to ensure that a wide ranging number of applications are delivered to market and to encourage benefits for European citizens, businesses, industry and governments.

The ICT Theme is now into its fifth call with an estimated allocation of €730m this year alone. It is divided into a number of different challenges covering varying areas of interest. Of particular interest to the micro and nano research communities is Challenge 3, covering Components, Systems and Engineering, of which €135m is devoted towards collaborative projects. There is also €70m contributed by the theme to the new PPP initiative — Public Private Partnerships.

The allocation for ICT challenge 3 is split between 3 contains topics, nanoelectronics (€35m), photonics (€50m) and microsystems and smart miniaturised systems (€80m). Proposals are called for Large, small and SME focused collaborative R&D projects. The deadline for full proposals in challenge 3 is 26th October 2009.

The PPP initiative is a new initiative which is designed to respond to the current economic crisis for providing money towards new cross disciplinary challenges in Factories of the future, Green cars and energy efficient buildings. Both the ICT and NMP thematic areas along with other priorities are contributing to these competitions which are run under broadly the same rules as Framework 7. Deadlines for these proposals are 3rd November 2009.

The European Commission is also running the 4th FP7 NMP call, with a delegated budget of €300m, €200m of which is set aside for collaborative projects, a large proportion of which will cover the development and application of nanotechnologies for many sectors. The call is divided into several specific research topics including micro and nanotechnology manufacturing, risk management, sensors and toxicology modelling. The first deadline for proposal outlines is 8th December 2009 and the second deadline for final proposals is 18th May 2010.

“Nanotechnologies and microtechnologies are being recognised as important means of wealth and job creation for the UK and Europe, and successful development and uptake of new technology is central to the UK's wealth creation in the next twenty years,” says Dr Alec Reader, Director of the NanoKTN.

“Choosing the right call is important for UK organisations to expand their ambitions without wasting unnecessary effort and expense. Support for preparing calls is crucial and at the NanoKTN we are committed to assisting our members in making the best possible decisions to ensure we continue to see inward investment into the UK nano and microtechnology markets.”

Established by the Technology Strategy Board, the NanoKTN is managed by Centre for Process Innovation Ltd, a leading technology development and consulting company.

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