Finnish nanotech industry sets development targets

September 7, 2006

Brussels, 06 Sep 2006

Finnish companies and research institutes working in nanotechnology are currently drawing up a shared strategy on nanotechnology development targets. Tekes, the Finnish funding agency for technology and innovation, will use the strategy when deciding the targets for future financing of its FinNano technology programme. 'We want the practical implementers to have a say in choosing the target areas of financing,' explained Markku Lämsä, Programme Manager of the FinNano programme. 'The aim is to create long-term, highly committed co-operation among top experts using nanotechnology.'

One of the key themes of the programme is the safety of nanotechnology applications. The safety risks of nanoparticles are a subject of debate among healthcare and medical workers around the world, and Tekes says it wants Finnish companies and researchers to be aware of the safety issues surrounding these new technologies. In the past nanotechnology research has focused on engineering and material sciences, which is why it does not have a tradition of assessing health impacts.

'Finnish industries using nanotechnology will significantly improve their international competitive strength when they integrate safety assurance into their routine research and development processes,' said Professor Kai Savolainen of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, who heads the thematic group on nanosafety.

The other thematic groups are working on the electronic and forest clusters, nanotechnology processes and instruments and nanotechnology materials.. The groups will present their plans in March 2007.

The Finnish nanotechnology industry boasts world class expertise, and over 80 companies are involved in the FinNano programme.

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