UK invests £90 million in nanotechnology research

The UK’s Science and Innovation Minister Lord Sainsbury today announced a cash injection of £90 million over the next six years to help industry harness the commercial opportunities offered by nanotechnology.

Science and Innovation Minister Lord Sainsbury today announced a cash injection of £90 million over the next six years to help industry harness the commercial opportunities offered by nanotechnology.

According to the Department of Trade & Industry (DTI), the £90 million will be spent on collaborative research and a new network of micro and nanotechnology facilities.

‘Today’s investment will help UK companies take advantage of the exciting commercial opportunities offered by scientific advances in nanotechnology,’ said Lord Sainsbury. ‘Some estimates predict a global market in nanotechnology worth over $1 trillion in a decade. I want to make sure the UK wins a share of this prize with a prosperous, world-class nanotechnology sector in the UK.’

The government is allocating £50 million for an Applied Research Programme that will support collaborative research and development projects between industry and the science base. The remaining £40 million will go toward new and existing facilities that will make up a UK MicroNanoTechnology (MNT) Network.

According to a statement, the MNT network will drive market development and exploitation of nanotechnology around the UK by helping industry access nanotechnology research and resources by providing access to academic and industrial facilities. Scottish Enterprise, the Welsh Development Agency and Invest Northern Ireland are working alongside the English RegionalDevelopment Agencies (RDAs) to maximise commercial opportunities for the UK as a whole.

Sir Graham Hall, Chairman of the English Regional Development Agencies commented: ‘The RDAs welcome the collaborative approach of the MicroNanoTechnology network as a significant step to ensure these exciting new technologies are adopted as quickly as possible.’

Funds for existing and anticipated micro and nanotechnology projects supported by UK development agencies are expected to exceed £200 million over the next few years. Projects include a new £20-30 million investment by the Northwest Development Agency to establish a fully equipped National Microsystems Packaging Centre to integrate and package micro and nano components into product prototypes.