results of an online survey on 'a European strategy
for nanotechnology' illustrate the areas that Europe's
researchers consider should be a priority. Respondents
overwhelmingly called for more European funding, new
infrastructure, further nanotechnology education and
training, increased international cooperation and a
dialogue with society. The survey was conducted by Nanoforum,
a thematic network funded under the EU's Fifth Framework
Programme (FP5), in collaboration with the European
90 per cent of respondents agreed that nanotechnology
will have a strong impact on European industry within
ten years, while 80 per cent thought the same was
true for European citizens. In terms of sectors, those
responding to the survey expect the greatest impact
to be on chemistry and materials, followed by biotechnology,
information and communication technologies (ICT),
healthcare, and security and defence.
on areas that should be a priority for EU research
funding are evenly divided. 'Nanotechnology for sensor
applications' received the most votes at just over
16 per cent, but seven other fields were selected
by only marginally fewer participants. Some respondents
selected all of the fields put forward. 'It is impossible
to prioritise the R&D [research and development]
issues,' stated one participant. 'If we are to be
competitive, ALL these things have to be investigated
in a balanced manner. Furthermore, neglecting some
areas can have unpredictable influence on others,'
79 per cent of respondents called for a considerable
increase in EU funding for nanotechnology research,
with 25 per cent wanting a doubling of the budget
or more. Opinions on whether funding should focus
on basic or applied research were evenly divided.
with developed countries was deemed important by 96
per cent of respondents, while collaboration with
less developed countries received support from 87
per cent of those responding. The concept of an international
code of good conduct received widespread support.
Europe, respondents suggested that collaboration could
be strengthened through new bodies, such as a European
Research Council or a European research centre for
nanotechnology. Technology Platforms were also welcomed
as a step in the right direction.
on the current framework programme, FP6, several respondents
claimed that there is too much emphasis on nanoscience
for consumers and everyday applications, as well as
on high profile topics such as electronics and medicine.
Research in other fields, such as food, personal care
and textiles are ignored in calls for proposals but
can affect daily quality of life, a number of respondents
survey also generated a number of calls for a decrease
in the size of EU research projects and for a clearer
focus on nanotechnology. Respondents with experience
of participating in EU projects pointed to burdensome
bureaucracy and a negative cost-benefit balance.
total of 720 people participated in the survey, and
an additional 29 wrote directly to the European Commission.
The majority of respondents were based in Europe (93
per cent), with one third coming from either Germany
or the UK.
access the results of the survey, please consult the
following web address:
further information on nanotechnology at EU level,
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