Brussels, 20 Dec 2004
France will increase its funding for nanosciences and nanotechnologies from 30 million to 70 million euro over three years, the country's Research Minister, François d'Aubert, has announced.
Speaking at the launch of France's new National Research Agency, which will officially start operating in January, Mr d'Aubert explained that every effort possible would be made to maintain France's position as a world leader in nanotechnologies.
'A market of several hundred billion euro will open up to French enterprises by 2010, on condition that we know how to anticipate this technological revolution, prepare the discoveries upstream and transform the trials downstream, by making all the actors in this field work in perfect synergy,' said Mr d'Aubert.
To achieve this, the National Research Agency's first programme will focus on nanosciences and nanotechnologies. A new centre for the infinitely small, the Minatec, will also be built in Grenoble. Grenoble is already a pole of excellence in micro-technologies, providing most of the chips found in French mobile phones.
'This new programme will not have as an assignment to revolutionise research in the nanotechnology field, but to bring together and amplify current efforts,' said Mr d'Aubert. 'Christened Réseau national en nanosciences et en nanotechnologies (National Network in Nanosciences and Nanotechnologies) - R3N - this programme will generate scientific and technological platforms (so called grand centrals) to enable selection of the best academic or technological projects in partnerships between public institutes and private companies,' he added.
At present France ranks fifth in the world in terms of publications in nanosciences, and is second in Europe, behind Germany, in terms of financial investment in this field.
France has also been the motor behind the creation on an ERA-NET at European level, and will now look into the creation of an ERA-NET +, added Mr d'Aubert.
R3N will define policy priorities for the three main scientific and technological fields concerned with nanotechnologies - nanobiosciences, nanomaterials and nano electronic components, explained Mr d'Aubert. Furthermore, existing research institutes are set to join forces with the programme. The CNRS (National Centre for Scientific Research), for example, will recruit around 75 researchers, technicians and post-doctoral students in the field on nanotechnologies, while the CEA (the Atomic Energy Commission) will increase its budget by 16 million euro for research into 300 mm technologies (Nanotec 300).
For more information on the Nanosciences-Nanotechnologies Programme (in French), please visit: