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Putting the focus on nanotechnology

Using focus groups, the Nanotechnology KTN is opening up the communication channels between industry, academia and funding authorities

Nanotechnology is used in the development and manufacture of products in a number of different areas, including medicine, materials, electronics, coatings and energy-saving technology, all with positive effects, such as in the manufacture of tennis rackets, cars, cosmetics and sunscreen.

The Nanotechnology Knowledge Transfer Network (NanoKTN), one of the UK?s primary knowledge-based networks for micro and nanotechnologies, was set up by the Technology Strategy Board to promote and facilitate knowledge exchange, support the growth of UK capabilities, raise awareness of nanotechnology and provide thought leadership and input to UK policy and strategy. It also assists the 23 UK Micro and Nanotechnology (MNT) capital facilities that were set up by UK government to develop a critical mass of capabilities and provide access to microsystems and nanotechnology platforms, for those wishing to commercialise MNT.

With the division of its activities into four themes: Materials, Manufacturing & Processing, Metrology and Bionano & Nanomedicine, the NanoKTN aims to support the commercialisation of MNT in these areas. This is achieved through focus groups, set up under each of the four themes to act as three-way communication channels between industry, academia and funding authorities.

The NanoKTN has four focus groups within the bionano field: NanoMITE, NanoMedicine, NanoPharm and BioSIG. Launched in December 2008, the NanoMITE focus group looks at the advances in nano-structured materials for use in tissue engineering. Its activities are guided by a steering committee, which includes major UK and SME orthopaedic companies as well as leading UK academics from the biomaterials and tissue-engineering fields, including Imperial College London and Smith & Nephew.

NanoMedicine will focus on the clinical application of nanotechnology, including medical imaging, and steering committee members include GE Healthcare and Leeds Royal Infirmary. NanoPharm will look at opportunities and issues of nanotechnology in drug discovery, development and formulation. The group is currently in the development stages, but a steering committee has already been set up including the likes of Pfizer, Astra- Zeneca, the London School of Pharmacy and the Wellcome Trust. BioSIG will be jointly run with the Sensors & Instrumentation KTN to study issues surrounding biosensing applications.

The ?green energy? revolution continues to grow, with companies gradually gathering pace and seeking to produce energy from renewable and low-carbon footprint resources. The Nano4Energy focus group studies nano-enabled technologies for energy generation & conversion, storage and conservation. These three subjects were identified as key areas of interest by the Industrial Steering Committee which includes representatives from The Carbon Trust, Johnson Matthey, Intelligent Energy and Arup.

HiPerNano was launched to raise awareness, promote developments and solve extreme engineering challenges in nano-materials and coatings. Members discuss materials challenges and developments with both end-users and industry professionals in aerospace, defence, security, and power generation. More specifically, the benefits of nanomaterials in extreme environments, such as high temperature, friction, corrosion, erosion and ballistic impact, are examined.

The NanoEntrepreneurs focus group aims to assist the business ambitions of companies as well as focusing on the technology and science of nanotechnology businesses. It aims to encourage the development of strong and robust SMEs through improved supply chain creation, imaginative business-strategy development and implementing ways of extracting the best possible value from existing products and services.

The Nano Micro Systems focus group runs in partnership with JEMI UK and was launched to evaluate the issue of the supply chain for the nanotechnology sector looking to supply the nano-electronic devices and systems, MEMS and other related emerging hi-tech sectors. In partnership with Leatherhead Food International, the NanoKTN has created a Nanotechnology Food focus group. The group concentrates on the role of micro and nanotechnologies in food and drink applications and the benefits they can bring for the consumer in terms of health, safety and quality.

The NanoKTN also has focus groups that cover the areas of lasers, gas sensors, modelling and measurements/ standards, with a number of focus groups on the horizon including Nano-enabled Coatings and EcoNano. The NanoKTN is offering free membership to the nanotechnology supply chain and is encouraging anyone interested in receiving information about events, specific focus groups targeted at their markets, and the latest in government and public policy, to sign up today.

Becoming a member of the NanoKTN offers direct access to the key contacts at the market-leading companies who work in the micro and nanotechnology field, as well as access to a broad range of services and benefits including events, networking, focus groups and the NanoKTN Directory.

For more information, contact:

Added the 04 October 2009 in category Innovation UK Vol5-2

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