Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ENF2017 (EuroNanoForum 2017)
Reporting period: 2016-06-01 to 2017-09-30
ENF 2017 was indeed integrative and stimulated various interactions between technological disciplines, research and industry, and between regional, national and transnational bodies. At the same time the event served as a catalyst for action to encourage spin-off technology to find an industrial partner through the ample networking sessions, and gave exposure to European, world class nanotechnology research that should find its rightful place in industry.
For such reasons it was imperative that the conference audiences would be balanced with representatives from the right sectors: event attendees were all stakeholders involved in activities related to nano and materials technologies, including representatives of industry and SMEs, research centres and universities, representatives of the financial sector and investors, as well as policymakers at regional, member state and transnational levels.
Incremental innovations, business news and the latest nanotechnology related research results were presented and discussed, also in the perspectives of post-Horizon2020 scenarios. The event proved to be the most excellent way to promote and popularise the importance of nanotechnologies and this was even made possible through the extensive national outreach and promotional activities that preceded the conference.
During the conference proceedings, the delegates and expert speakers discussed various success stories and encouraged prospective project partners to aim for breakthrough technological innovation and impact significantly on both industry and society. Most importantly, there were various occasions during the three-day programme where opportunities to substantially improve industrial competitiveness and growth by applying nano and advanced materials horizontally were presented. All this discussion was supported by the accompanying programme that was taking place simultaneously with the conference, aiming to help SMEs find international research and business partners, tap EU funding through inter-regional consortia, identify talented researchers and assign such talent to industry.
And in a nutshell, the ENF 2017 3-day event did exactly that. With Horizon2020 being mid-way, most of the sessions reviewed the achievements so far but also underlined where tweaks are necessary and which issues need urgent addressing. The conference was in a way even broadly outlining how the post-Horizon2020 programme should develop and which nano, materials and processes and biotechnology (NMP+B) activities should be prioritised. Matters like the European nanotech ecosystem were deeply discussed and proposals were made vis-a-vis the need for new disruptive innovation and innovative business models. An important underlying theme was the enhanced cooperation between industry and research, even on inter-regional levels. This international cross-collaboration was deemed by all present as a key factor for tangible progression in the NMP+B arena and it was an honour for the ENF 2017 organisers to acknowledge that this event provided to be the appropriate platform for these conclusions to be derived and taken forward in the forthcoming months.
On all levels, be it policy, societal, academic, and industrial, the conference and its multi-faceted accompanying activities were instrumental to ensure that the knowledge is shared and that future strategic priorities in nanotechnology are brought to the fore of discussion. From the post-event feedback it is already felt that the policy-technology-industry-society dialogue started under the auspices of the ENF 2017, covering actors across the value chain, to come up with common solutions to speed up commercialisation, facilitate technology transfer and reinvigorate the innovation process for the benefit of European enterprises and citizens, is bearing fruit and has provided the groundwork for further development in the years to come.