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INDUSTRIAL LEADERSHIP - Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies – Nanotechnologies


INDUSTRIAL LEADERSHIP - Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies – Nanotechnologies

Specific objective for nanotechnologies

The specific objective of nanotechnologies research and innovation is to secure Union leadership in this high growth global market, by stimulating scientific and technological advancements and investment in nanotechnologies and their uptake in high added value, competitive products and services across a range of applications and sectors.
By 2020, nanotechnologies will be mainstreamed, that is seamlessly integrated with most technologies and applications, driven by consumer benefits, quality of life, healthcare, sustainable development and the strong industrial potential for achieving previously unavailable solutions for productivity and resource efficiency.
Europe must also set the global benchmark on safe and responsible nanotechnology deployment and governance ensuring both high societal and industrial returns combined with high standards of safety and sustainability.
Products using nanotechnologies represent a world market which Europe cannot afford to ignore. Market estimates of the value of products incorporating nanotechnology as the key component reach EUR 700 billion by 2015 and EUR 2 trillion by 2020, with a corresponding 2 and 6 million jobs respectively. Europe's nanotechnology companies should exploit this double digit market growth and be capable of capturing a market share at least equal to Europe's share of global research funding (i.e. a quarter) by 2020.

Rationale and Union added value

Nanotechnologies are a spectrum of evolving technologies with proven potential, having revolutionary impact for example in materials, ICT, transport mobility, life sciences, healthcare (including treatment), consumer goods and manufacturing once the research is translated into breakthrough, sustainable and competitive products and production processes.
Nanotechnologies have a critical role to play in addressing the challenges identified by the Europe 2020 strategy. The successful deployment of these key enabling technologies will contribute to the competitiveness of Union industry by enabling novel and improved products or more efficient processes and provide responses to today's and future societal challenges.
The global research funding for nanotechnologies has doubled from around EUR 6,5 billion in 2004 to around EUR 12,5 billion in 2008, with the Union accounting for about a quarter of this total. The Union has recognised research leadership in nanosciences and nanotechnologies with a projection of some 4 000 companies in the Union by 2015. This research leadership must be maintained and amplified and further translated into practical use and commercialisation.
Europe now needs to secure and build on its position in the global market by promoting wide scale cooperation in and across many different value chains and between different industrial sectors to realise the process scale-up of these technologies into safe, sustainable and viable commercial products. The issues of risk assessment and management as well as responsible governance are emerging as determining factors of future impact of nanotechnologies on society, the environment and the economy.
Thus, the focus of activities shall be on the widespread, responsible and sustainable application of nanotechnologies into the economy, to enable benefits with high societal and industrial impact. To ensure the potential opportunities, including setting-up new companies and generating new jobs, research should provide the necessary tools to allow for standardisation and regulation to be correctly implemented.

Broad lines of the activities

(a) Developing next generation nanomaterials, nanodevices and nanosystems

Aiming at fundamentally new products enabling sustainable solutions in a wide range of sectors.

(b) Ensuring the safe and sustainable development and application of nanotechnologies

Advancing scientific knowledge of the potential impact of nanotechnologies and nanosystems on health or on the environment, and providing tools for risk assessment and management along the entire life cycle, including standardisation issues.

(c) Developing the societal dimension of nanotechnology

Focusing on governance of nanotechnology for societal and environmental benefit.

(d) Efficient and sustainable synthesis and manufacturing of nanomaterials, components and systems

Focusing on new operations, smart integration of new and existing processes, including technology convergence, as well as up-scaling to achieve high precision large-scale production of products and flexible and multi-purpose plants that ensure the efficient transfer of knowledge into industrial innovation.

(e) Developing and standardisation of capacity-enhancing techniques, measuring methods and equipment

Focusing on the underpinning technologies supporting the development and market introduction of safe complex nanomaterials and nanosystems.