FP6-NMP - Nanotechnologies and nanosciences, knowledge-based multifunctional materials and new production processes and devices: thematic priority 3 under the 'Focusing and integrating community research' of the 'Integrating and strengthening the European Research Area' specific programme 2002-2006.
The Sixth framework programme for research and technological development is structured in three main blocks of activities. 'Focusing and Integrating Community Research', 'Structuring the European Research Area, and 'Strengthening the foundations of the European Research Area'. The 'Nanotechnologies and nanosciences, knowledge-based multifunctional materials and new production processes and devices' is one of the thematic priorities laid down in the 'Focusing and Integrating Community Research' programme of FP6. The priority thematic areas (seven in total) of the 'Focusing and Integrating Community Research' represent the bulk of expenditure under the Sixth framework programme 2002-2006.
Nanotechnologies represent a new approach to materials science and engineering. Europe enjoys a strong position in the nanosciences but this position needs to be translated into a real competitive advantage for European industry. The transformation of industry towards high-added value organisations necessitates real integrated approaches, either 'vertical', combining materials sciences, nanotechnologies and production technologies, as well as other technologies based e.g. on information technologies or biotechnologies, or 'horizontal', combining multi-sectoral interests.
European production industry as a whole needs to move from resource-based towards knowledge-based, more environment-friendly approaches, from quantity to quality, from mass produced single-use products to manufactured-on-demand multi-use, upgradable product-services and from 'material and tangible' to 'intangible' value-added products, processes and services. These changes are associated with radical shifts in industrial structures, involving a stronger presence of innovative enterprises, with capabilities in networks and mastering new hybrid technologies. The primary objective of 'Nanotechnologies and nanosciences, knowledge-based multifunctional materials and new production processes and devices' is to promote real industrial breakthroughs, based on scientific and technological excellence. Radical breakthrough can be achieved through two complementary approaches: - creation of new knowledge; - new ways of integrating and exploiting existing and new knowledge. The Community activities carried out under this thematic area cover the following: A) Nanotechnologies and nanosciences B) Knowledge-based multifunctional materials C) New Production Processes and Devices D) Integration of nanotechnologies, new materials, and new production technologies for more cost and eco-effective sectoral applications E) Cross-priorities actions and links to other research actions
A) Nanotechnologies and nanosciences The objective is twofold: to promote the creation of an RTD-intensive European nanotechnology-enabled industry, and to promote the uptake of nanotechnologies in existing industrial sectors. Research may be long-term and high risk, but will be oriented towards industrial application and/or co-ordination of efforts at EU level. An active policy of encouraging industrial companies and SMEs, including start-ups, will be pursued and strong industry/research interactions in consortia undertaking projects will be promoted..
1. Long-term interdisciplinary research into understanding phenomena, mastering processes and developing research tools The aim is to expand the generic underlying knowledge base of application oriented nano-science and nanotechnology, and to develop leading edge research tools and techniques.
2. Nanobiotechnologies The aim is to support research into the integration of biological and non-biological entities, opening new horizons in many applications for processing and for medical and environmental analysis systems.
3. Nanometre-scale engineering techniques to create materials and components The aim is to to develop novel functional and structural materials of superior performance for industry, by controlling their nano-structure. This will include technologies for their production and processing.
4. Development of handling and control devices and instruments The aim is to develop efficient instrumentation for measurement, analysis and manufacture at the nano-scale. A guiding target for handling and controlling nanostructures should be a feature size or resolution of the order of 10nm.
5. Applications in areas such as health, chemistry, energy, optics and the environment The objective is to foster the potential of nanotechnologies in breakthrough applications through the integration of research developments in materials and technological devices in an industrial context.
B) Knowledge-based multifunctional materials New, high knowledge-content materials, providing new functionalities and improved performance, will be critical drivers of innovation in technologies, devices and systems, benefiting sustainable development and competitiveness. Breakthroughs will come not only from the new materials developed but also from new processing, overall product design and from the new approaches taken for example using renewable materials or interface design. To assure Europe's strong positions in emerging technology markets, the various actors need to be mobilised through leading edge RTD partnerships, including high risk research and through integration between research on materials and industrial applications.
1. Development of fundamental knowledge The aim is to understand complex physico-chemical and biological phenomena relevant to the mastering and processing of intelligent materials with the help of experimental, theoretical and modelling tools. This will provide the basis for synthesising larger complex or self-assembling structures with defined physical, chemical or biological characteristics.
2. Technologies associated with the production, transformation and processing of knowledge-based multifunctional materials The aim is to improve the sustainable processing of multifunctional materials which can contribute to clear benefits in the fabrication of industrial products. These novel materials, serving multisectorial applications should incorporate in-built characteristics to be exploited under predetermined circumstances as well as enhanced bulk properties or barrier and surface characteristics for higher performance.
3. Engineering support for materials development The aim is to bridge the gap from 'knowledge production' to 'knowledge use', thus overcoming the EU industry's weaknesses in the integration of materials and manufacturing. This will be achieved by the development of new tools enabling the production of new materials in a context of sustainable competitiveness.
C) New Production Processes and Devices The overall aim is to support the transformation of European industry towards a knowledge-based and added value industry for improved competitiveness and sustainability. This requires the development of new production concepts that radically change the way manufacturers design, build and support products, processes and services.
1. Development of new processes and flexible and intelligent manufacturing systems The aim is to encourage industry's transition towards more knowledge-based production and systems organisation and to considering production from a more holistic perspective, encompassing not only hardware and software, but also people and the way in which they learn and share knowledge.
2. Systems research and hazard control The aim is to contribute to an improved sustainability of industrial systems and a substantial and measurable reduction in environmental and health impact, through new industrial approaches, as well as enhancement of resource efficiency and reduction in consumption of primary resources.
3. Optimising the life-cycle of industrial systems, products and services As products and production systems are increasingly life-cycle, quality and service-oriented, the requirements of intelligence, energy-saving, cost-effectiveness, safety and cleanliness, present key challenges for new industrial and consumption approaches based on eco-efficiency. This objective must allow the development of new concepts for production, products, processes and organizational innovation.
D) Integration of nanotechnologies, new materials, and new production technologies for more cost and eco-effective sectoral applications Nanotechnologies, materials science and advanced technologies have become very important, both in terms of improving the quality of life of all people and of creating wealth through novel knowledge-based and sustainable products and processes. The goal is to foster breakthrough applications through the integration of multi-disciplinary research developments in an industrial context. Research effort should help explore new concepts, expected to support the technological and reference basis for the EU Environmental Technologies Action Plan (ETAP).
E) Cross-priorities actions and links to other research actions Links between the 'Nanotechnologies and nanosciences, knowledge-based multifunctional materials and new production processes and devices' and the thematic priority 6 "Sustainable development, global change and ecosystems" exist.
The research activities carried out within this thematic priority area will include exploratory research at the leading edge of knowledge on subjects closely related to one or more topics within it. Two complementary approaches will be used: one receptive and open - the other proactive. The Commission is responsible for the implementation of the specific programme. It draws up a work programme for the implementation of the specific programme, setting out in greater detail the objectives and scientific and technological priorities as well as the timetable for implementation. The work programme takes account of relevant research activities carried out by the member states, associated states and European and international organizations and will be updated where appropriate.
A committee assists the Commission, who reports regularly on the overall progress of the implementation of the specific programme. Information on financial aspects and the use of instruments will be included in the report. The Commission also arranges independent monitoring and assessment of the framework programme to be conducted concerning the activities carried out in the fields covered by the specific programme.
Integrated Projects and Networks of Excellence are recognised as being an overall priority means to attain the objectives of critical mass, integration of the research capacities, management simplification and European added value. These new instruments are being used, where deemed appropriate, as a priority means, while maintaining the use of specific targeted projects and coordination actions. In addition to research and technological development, Integrated Projects and Networks of Excellence may incorporate the following types of activity, where deemed of specific relevance to the sought research objectives: - Demonstration, dissemination and exploitation; - Cooperation with researchers and research teams from third countries; - Human resource development, including the promotion of training of researchers; development of research facilities and infrastructure of specific relevance to the research being undertaken; and promotion of better links between science and society, including women in science.
Specific targeted research projects, coordination actions and specific support actions may also be used.
In certain cases, when a project receives the maximum level of co-financing authorised under the framework programme or an overall grant, an additional contribution from the Structural Funds can be granted. In the case of participation of entities from the associated candidate countries, an additional contribution from the pre-accession financial instruments can be granted under similar conditions. In the case of participation of organisations from Mediterranean or developing countries, a contribution of the MEDA programme and of the financial instruments of the Community's aid to development can be envisaged.
fundamental ethical principles must be respected during the implementation of this programme and in the research activities arising from it. These include the principles reflected in the Charter of fundamental rights of the EU, such as protection of human dignity and life, of personal data and privacy.
In carrying out the programme, the Commission may have recourse to technical assistance.