The European Nanotechnology Trade Alliance
Del Stark, Chief Executive European Nanotechnology Trade Alliance
The UK had an early interest in nanotechnology, with a Department of Trade & Industry (DTI) National Nanotechnology Initiative (NION) announced in 1986, followed in 1988 by a four-year LINK Nanotechnology programme. After this time there was no national strategy for nanotechnology in the UK, although dispersed research involving nanoscale science continued to be funded. In 1997, the Institute of Nanotechnology (IoN), a registered charity, was created to fill the gap and act as a focus of interest in nanotechnology throughout the UK. The Institute grew out of the Centre for Nanotechnology, which had received a small amount of funding under NION to raise awareness of nanotechnology and its applications.
The Institute of Nanotechnology is a recognised global leader in its field and has recently established the European Nanotechnology Trade Alliance as a trade body designed to represent industry. Experts from the UK Advisory Group for Nanotechnology applications suggest the UK should focus on six application areas where they reckoned the UK has research strength and industrial opportunities.
These are: electronics and communications; drug delivery systems; tissue engineering, medical implants and devices; nanomaterials, particularly at the bio/medical/functional interface; instrumentation, tooling and metrology; and sensors and actuators.
The UK has now become a European leader in nanotechnology investment. In 2002, the Department of Trade and Industry dedicated approximately £30m to nanoscale research, on top of existing funding for subject-specific research councils. This figure however will be dwarfed by the new UK Initiative, which will seek to place nanoscale research firmly in the mainstream of future technology development.
|The UK has now become a European leader in nanotechnology investment|
On 2 July 2003, Lord Sainsbury, Science and Innovation Minister, announced a cash injection of £90m over the next six years to help industry harness the commercial opportunities offered by nanotechnology. Existing and anticipated micro and nanotechnology projects supported by the UK development agencies are expected to exceed £200m over the next few years. From an industrial point of view the UK is leading in many fields including bionanotechnology, nanomedicine, materials science and metrology.
The UK has about 171 companies involved in nanotechnology research and commercialisation. Thomas Swan for instance has recently launched its new Carbon Nanomaterials business that is dedicated to manufacturing commercial quantities of high-purity single and multi-wall carbon nanotubes under the Elicarb trademark. PSiMedica Limited, located in Malvern, was founded in 2000 to exploit the potential of BioSiliconTM, a new, proprietary biomaterial based on nanostructured porous silicon.
PSiMedica is focusing initially on the development of BioSiliconTM for the controlled release of therapeutic agents. NPL is the United Kingdom?s national standards laboratory, an internationally respected and independent centre of excellence in research, development and knowledge transfer in measurement and materials science. NPL has recently launched a metrology club to work with industry in developing new standards.
Nanotechnology has the potential to benefit society, individuals and industry alike. In light of the increasingly serious problems relating to the degeneration of the environment, threat to the biosphere, increasing demands for resources by developing countries, and the growing abyss between rich and poor, the European Nanotechnology Trade Alliance (ENTA) is particularly interested in promoting those nanotechnologies that offer sustainable energy generation, less resource-intensive manufacturing and cheaper and better medicines.
Supported by companies such as Procter and Gamble, BP International, Thomas Swan & Co., Nexia Solutions, Imerys, SmartBead Technologies and LOT-Oriel, the European Nanotechnology Trade Alliance, (ENTA), has been created to represent the interests of nanotechnology businesses across Europe. It will act to bridge the gap between industry, governments, science, and importantly, the public. Its aim is to promote the benefits of nanotechnology, while supporting all actions that ensure new nanotechnologies are developed in a safe and responsible manner.
Membership of ENTA is open to businesses and organisations for whom nanotechnology has or may have an impact, and includes patent agents and service organisations such as the Institute of Occupational Medicine, Mewburn Ellis LLP, Marks and Clerk and Darbys.
Membership of ENTA offers:
ENTA will work closely with the media and government bodies to express industry?s views and needs, on for example, legislation, standards, standard operating procedures, and build strong relationships with NGOs and the public so to ensure full community engagement.
ENTA fully endorses and supports the world movements aimed at delivering the eight Millennium Development Goals, such as eradicating poverty and disease to ultimately improving the life expectancy and quality of life for everyone in the developing world. Nanotechnology has a role to play in this from the production of clean drinking water to sustainability of new manufacturing processes.
ENTA held its first strategy meeting in London on 23 July to collect views and opinions relating to the nanotechnology community and its growing industry. Del Stark, Chief Executive of ENTA, said ?Industry will shape the future of ENTA in both advisory and member capacities.
Our meeting today teased out many issues of interest and concern, as wide as the need for public communication, in depth understanding of where potential risks may occur, a lack of precise definitions and the overall perception barrier relating to nanotechnology.? He added ?ENTA aims to address these issues, and become the first port of call for the media, as representing the industry view on nanotechnology.?
ENTA exhibited at the flagship European conference ?Nanotechnology and the Health of the EU Citizen in 2020? in Edinburgh during the week beginning the 5th of September. ENTA participated in the press conference at this event and received much interest from the media and the conference delegates.
ENTA?s next steps will be to carry out market research and market surveys in order to gain and evaluate market perception. ENTA is already beginning to establish relationships with many relevant bodies across Europe, such as the UK MNT network, the European Commission and many multinational companies. It intends to issue regular media briefings, and press releases on items of international industrial and public importance.
ENTA?s flagship event will be in the Autumn, where it is sponsoring the conference at Europe?s biggest nanotrade fair, ?NanoSolutions?, to be held in Cologne on 8-10 November.
Contact: Del Stark, Chief Executive
European Nanotechnology Trade Alliance
Tel: +44 (0) 141 330 2143
Fax: +44 (0) 141 330 2144