EP Briefing 25-28 September 2006: Support for nanosciences if managed ethically (own-initiative)

Strasbourg, 20 Sep 2006

The Industry Committee welcomes an action plan by the European Commission for a safe, integrated and responsible strategy for nanosciences and nanotechnologies for the period 2005-2009. MEPs believe nanotechnologies can help address needs such as public health, energy and transport, and contribute to the EU's competitiveness and sustainable development goals.

In an own-initiative report by Miloslav RANSDORF (GUE/NGL, CZ), they therefore stress the need to increase publicly funded investment in R&D, saying that world-class R&D infrastructure is needed for the EU to remain competitive in nanosciences. The EU must also clarify the legal and business environment for these technologies and create a nanoscience patent monitoring system governed by the European Patent Office.

In addition, say MEPs, an ethical approach is essential to win public trust. They therefore welcome planned reviews of issues such as non-therapeutic human enhancement and the links between nanosciences and nanotechnologies and individual privacy, but they urge that these reviews be made public. They also call for ethical committees to be set up to help ensure the public is properly informed and to create a climate of trust based on awareness of the risks and the benefits of nanotechnologies.

Nanotechnology is the manipulation or self-assembly of individual atoms, molecules, or molecular clusters into structures to create materials and devices with new or vastly different properties. Materials from carbon nanotubes are 100 time stronger than steel, but 6 times lighter; silver nanoparticles on the surfaces of refrigerators, air conditioners and laundry machines act as antibacterial and antifungal agents. Other nanoscience-based products are anti-graffiti paints, long lasting batteries and self-cleaning textiles. Nanotechnologists are also investigating ways of discovering and administering new medicines and devising new security techniques for crime prevention.


Report: A6-0216/2006

Nanosciences and nanotechnologies: an action plan for Europe 2005-2009

Procedure: own-initiative
Debate: 28.09.2006

European Parliament
Item source

Already registered?

Sign in now if you are already registered or a current subscriber. Or subscribe for unrestricted access to our digital editions and iPad and iPhone app.

Featured Jobs

Associate Dean (Education), Quality and Innovation AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL UNIVERSITY (ANU)

Register to continue  

You've enjoyed reading five THE articles this month. Register now to get five more, or subscribe for unrestricted access.

Most Commented

Universities to scale back liberal arts and social science courses

  • David Humphries illustration (24 September 2015)

A Russell Group tagline rap is further proof that we need to reform the academy’s approach, argues Philip Moriarty

  • World University Rankings 2015-2016 methodology

Change for the better: fuelled by more comprehensive data, the 2015-2016 rankings probe deeper than ever

  • World University Rankings

US continues to lose its grip as institutions in Europe up their game

Inspired by previous movement in 1960s, PhD students say that ‘science is not neutral’ and urge scientists to confront their assumptions