London, 2 November 2006
A new era with a complete network of 22 Nanotechnology Centres linking up across the UK will be officially ushered in at a networking reception to be held today at the Technology Strategy Board's annual conference, "Innovate 2006".
The network of Nanotechnology Centres, formerly Micro and Nanotechnology Capital Facilities, has been supported with £50 million in Government funding.
Science and Innovation Minister Lord Sainsbury said: "The Government firmly believes that nanotechnology, through the development of new materials and products, has the potential to deliver huge benefits to both society and industry. "Innovate 2006" and the Nanotechnology Centres are a powerful example of our commitment to developing the UK's knowledge-based economy.
"Now that the final pieces of the Nanotechnology Centres network are in place, with the final five centres opening recently, the UK has created a world-leading network of facilities that will significantly increase industry's ability to exploit nanotechnology."
The Nanotechnology Centres have been established through the DTI's £50 million MNT Capital Facilities Programme. The programme has established a network of dedicated open access facilities by formalising access to spare capacity in Universities and industry.
Prof Hugh Clare, Director, Micro and Nanotechnology (MNT) Network, who will host the nanotechnology networking event, commented;
"The commercial exploitation of nanotechnologies, supported by the innovation activities of the Nanotechnology Centres, presents a great opportunity for UK business. A well funded and supported nanotechnology sector means more high quality research, more sustainable jobs and increased wealth creation."
The Nanotechnology Centres will turn cutting edge ideas into business success. The event celebrates the finalisation of the entire network of 22 Centres, which are now all formally "open for business".
This achievement has been possible because of the substantial investment from DTI, Regional Development Agencies, Devolved Administrations and industry; and positions the UK as a leader in innovation and knowledge transfer in the new global economy.
Nanotechnology took centre stage at this year's Innovate event, with a keynote session devoted to the Nanotechnology Centres, which cover four key areas: NanoFabrication, NanoMetrology, NanoMedicine and NanoMaterials.
The network of 22 Nanotechnology Centres are part of the funding from the DTI's £90 million Micro and Nanotechnology Manufacturing Initiative, which aims to assist the exploitation of the commercial potential of developments in nanotechnology.
More than 1,000 delegates are due to attend Innovate, where the Technology Strategy Board released its second annual report, highlighting some of its successes - including more than 500 collaborative R&D projects worth £750 million (£365 from Government, £385 from industry).
The "Innovate 2006" conference is the focus for the achievements of the business-led Technology Strategy Board and, in particular, the Knowledge Transfer Networks in establishing routes to commercialisation for the research base.
NOTES TO EDITORS
1. The Nanotechnology Centres have been developed in line with current Government policy on the environmental, health and safety, ethical and social implications of nanotechnology. Further details of the Government's activity in this area and its response to the report carried out by the Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering can be found at the Nanotechnology Issues Dialogue Group website http:///www.ost.gov.uk/policy/issues/nidg .htm
2. The UK MNT Network, led by Professor Hugh Clare, was established in January 2004. The MNT Network is working to lower the entry barriers and driving the widespread market development and exploitation of micro and nanotechnologies, and ultimately, towards building a prosperous, and world-class MNT sector in the UK. The Network is supported by DTI, the Regional Development Agencies in England and the Devolved Administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
3. The final 5 Centres that have received funding are
4. A complete list of the Nanotechnology Centres can be found on http:///www.dti.gov.uk/innovation/micro-a nd-nanotechnology/index.html