Position paper on the need for measurement and testing in nanotechnology

March 13, 2002

Brussels, 12 March 2002

Full text

Executive Summary

The needs for measurement and testing that may be derived from the foreseen developments in nano-technology are substantial and wide range. Prosperous industrial sectors such as Precision Engineer-ing, Micro- & optoelectronics, as well as Bio-molecular technology will not be able to develop to their full potential in Europe without associated developments in measurement, testing and related disciplines.

As a generic technology, metrology in the broad sense of measurement and testing, should be ex-plored within the concepts of the European Research Area ERA, including emphasis on centres of excellence. Specifically, we are here talking about "nano-technology."

This position paper, the third of its kind, is compiled by the High Level Expert Group (HLEG), formed by the Commission to give advise on activities within the generic technology "Measurement and Testing"; and it reflects the common position of the HLEG-members on the importance of the development of proper measurement and testing techniques within the emerging technology nanotechnology. However, in its preparation the paper has been widely circulated and as such is the results of a broad effort.

The HLEG strongly recommends, that the Commission sees measurement and testing in general - and applied to nanotechnology in particular . as an integral part of the European Research Area, in order to strengthen European competitiveness on the global scene, as well as to contribute to bettering the living conditions of European citizens.

Nanometrology should (must) be seen as an indispensable part of all kind of nanotechnology. Any activity within science and technology must be accompanied be reference measurements to ensure that quantitative results are comparable and products interchangeable. Further, the HLEG recommends to the Commission that a substantial fraction of the funding for nanotechnology should be particularly addressing the related measurement and testing needs based on open calls for proposals. Simultaneously, the nanometrology within the ERA should be explored by building upon existing European networks and centres of excellence. Also, systematic dissemination of knowledge is desirable. Finally must be stated, that nanotechnology in its different relevant areas and in total is an extremely dynamic technology. Basic research, applied technical development, inno-vation and commercialisation happen nearly simultaneously. In general it is an investment intensive technology and needs highly skilled people. And that holds for measurement and testing in nanotech-nology as well. The Commission is recommended to accept the challenge and support research and development for maintaining European researchers and industry ahead of the global development -and business of a very often overseen enabling technology, namely measurement and testing, in this case measurement and testing for and in nanotechnology.

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