With a large number of leading-edge nanotechnology companies and a strong nationwide research and development network, the UK is a world-class location for the nanotechnology industry. Although it is a relatively new industry, potential applications for nanotechnology are growing rapidly and will continue to do so, with the market for nanotechnology products forecast to increase by 44% annually over the next 12-15 years (Source: Centre For Economic Growth, 2004). The UK has particular strengths in the healthcare, biotechnology, automotive, aerospace and advance materials fields.
The UK government has a strong track record in supporting the development of the UK nanotechnology industry. In 2003, the Department of Trade and Industry announced an investment of £90m for a six-year programme towards nanotechnology R&D, fabrication facilities and commercialisation. To date, a total of £22m from this programme has been invested by the UK government in micro and nanotechnology facilities around the UK in micro and nano device manufacture and integration; nano particles and novel materials; bionanotechnology; and characterisation and metrology.