Hang on a nanosecond!

August 14, 2008

We would like to make it clear that the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council is not "closing an avenue of study" in, or "declining to fund", certain areas of nanotechnology research ("Nanotech research funding halted by a thumbs-down from the public", 7 August).

As you correctly report, a public consultation exercise was undertaken as part of the process in developing a specific call for proposals, Nanotechnology Grand Challenges: Healthcare.

The outcomes of this exercise, alongside advice from the research and user communities, contributed to the decision on which areas of study this call would focus. However, your article was wrong to imply an extrapolation from a particular decision on priorities for one call to a more general statement about the merits of a research area.

The EPSRC continues to accept proposals in all areas of nanotechnology research that fall within its remit and will judge those proposals on their research quality.

Within the call, we certainly believe that the inclusion of this dialogue with the public added real value to the development of our priorities. We will be providing applicants and reviewers with information on the participants' concerns and aspirations relating to the two areas within nanotechnology for healthcare that the call will now focus on and are keen to see that this also influences the projects funded.

Liam Blackwell, Senior manager for nanotechnology, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

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