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  1. On: Innovation and Business Climate by Cornell Breckley (Jun 30)
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The UK Nanotechnologies Strategy was published on 18th March 2010 – Download the strategy here (accessible pdf – 2MB) or read the strategy at the bottom of this page.

Evidence gathering for the strategy has now closed.

The UK Nanotechnologies Strategy: Small Technologies, Great Opportunities was launched on 18th March 2010 and can be downloaded below.This Strategy sets out how Government will take action to ensure that everyone in the UK can safely benefit from the societal and economic opportunities that these technologies offer, whilst addressing the challenges that they might present.

Some key actions included in the Strategy are:

* Government Chief Scientific Advisers to review coordination of nanotechnologies research across Government including research on safety issues

* A new website to keep the public informed about Government work on nanotechnologies

*A new Nanotechnologies Collaboration Group to facilitate ongoing communication and collaboration between Government, academia, industry and other interested parties

*A new Ministerially led Nanotechnologies Leadership Group to address barriers to commercial growth in this area

*Government to explore a new industry reporting scheme with a broader scope covering nanomaterials as well as products containing them.

The Strategy was informed by the evidence gathering exercise Nanotechnologies: Influence and Inform the UK Strategy , which ran from July 2009-October 2009 on this website. The data collected was analysed and considered during the development of the UK Nanotechnologies Strategy: Small Technologies, Great Opportunities. Full summaries can be downloaded in PDF format, and very brief summaries can be found to each question on the cross-cutting theme and sector pages on this website. In addition, the SWOT analyses have all been updated based on the feedback we received.

What are Nanotechnologies?

“Nano” means one thousand millionth of a unit. Nanomaterials are usually considered to be those typically in the range of 1 to 100 nanometres. At the nanoscale, materials often have very different properties from their everyday equivalent, for example, they may be stronger or more chemically reactive or they may have different optical, electrical or magnetic behaviours. Nanotechnologies aim to exploit these different properties to create novel structures, devices and systems.

Content of the site

Alongside the UK Nanotechnologies Strategy, the website sets out five overarching themes identified for the evidence gathering exercise (anticipating opportunities and concerns; business and innovation climate; managing risks and uncertainties; measurement and standards; and public and stakeholder dialogue). For each of these themes we have given a snapshot of the current situation and our perception of the UK’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

If you have any comments or queries about this website, the evidence gathering exercise or the UK Nanotechnologies Strategy, please contact us at

Comments on this page

  1. I am very much supportive of this exercise. I have just become the RCUK Strategic Advisor on Nanotechnology and I will be working with all of the research councils and academics in the field. I am also well-connected with industry, large and small, and offer myself as an additional resource if you need it.

    Comment by Professor Peter Dobson, Oxford University — July 17, 2009 @ 10:41 am

  2. This is a fantastic initiative. In my short time reviewing this field and the technology available it is clear that there is much to get right before we can responsbily exploit micro and nano science, and gain consumer acceptance.

    Marks & Spencer wishes to play its part in informing and directing policy and research and will do what it can to support this process.

    Comment by Simon Allison, Technical Manager, Marks & Spencer Plc — July 17, 2009 @ 3:38 pm

  3. Nanotechnology, nanofabrication and their applications to our daily lives are definitely very important. As any emerging new technology (e.g. IT), its impact on the economy, industry and social lives is huge and unpredictable at the beginning. It is very timely to make such strategies at current stage. Not only the risk assessments should be considered for nano-materials, but also, as a professional working in both academic and industrial area, I am stressing the ‘cradle to grave’ recycling process of nano-devices (or devices composing of nano-materials). It will be my pleasure to contribute to your plan if any help is needed.

    Comment by Dr. Di Wei, NOKIA Research Centre c/o Nanoscience Centre, University of Cambridge — July 17, 2009 @ 7:55 pm

  4. I was initially very sceptical about yet another nano consultation, but apart from the fact that you should have done this years ago, I think it is an excellent idea and a good website which should give us all some valuable information.

    I hope you can get significant input from the industry sectors, it would be very helpful to get more detailed information on what is really happening and what they would find useful to help them deliver responsible nano.

    The downside of this is everyone is expecting a fabulous strategy to be developed out of this – good luck on that one!

    Comment by Hilary Sutcliffe — August 4, 2009 @ 6:44 pm

  5. I am very supportive of developing a national strategy for Nanotechnology. If we are going to maintain any significant level of International competitiveness we must focus our efforts to the key emerging technologies like nano. Don’t believe the hype, we are already well behind! Resources and support must flow effectively to those in both industry and academia, who are actually working in the field to develop nano-based products and nano-enabled solutions. When attending nationally organised Nano focused events, I am regularly disappointed and very concerned that “UK PLC” has so few real nano-companies. Can we please have a strategy that supports those who are really creating and building nano based employment and wealth creation for the UK and not the usual band of consultants, advisers, observers and NGOs who seem to populate the space at present.

    Comment by Andrew Elphick - Iota NanoSolutions Limited — August 6, 2009 @ 3:00 pm

  6. A strategy that includes creating greater international visibilty of the ground-breaking work that is going on in the UK is very welcome. We are an SME developing nano-thermal fluids and as such we benchmark our technology against others from outside the UK, we typically find that we have a lead at not just a fundemental knowledge level but also at a product level. The challenge for our business is to speed up the integration of our technology into real-world systems and the difficulty with that is often the lack of knowledge available at the system owner. Promotion of UK nano-technology, products, applications and benefits will gradually change that short comming.

    It is also our experience that some of the fundamental technologies we have developed have poterntial application outside of our existing ability to explore and exploit. In our case there are fields of thermal fluid use that we have simply not had sufficient time and resources to pursue; a clearly stated UK nano stratgey would help us to identify the most valuable of these themes, partners and routes to market within a context of national support and funding opportunities.

    Finally, we will be pleased to take part in this initiative as we see no difference between the development and promotion of the industry in the UK and the success of our own company which is seeking to be part of it.

    Comment by Mark Priest, Dispersia Ltd — August 19, 2009 @ 10:06 am

  7. If you want to know the most up to date on Nanoresearch, please come to this conference.

    Nanoparticles 2009 Conference, 2-4/September/2009,

    University of Liverpool, UK

    Please see this link:

    Comment by Dr Nguyen TK Thanh, The Davy Faraday Research Laboratory, The Royal Institution of Great Britain — August 26, 2009 @ 4:31 pm

  8. Just as applications can easily be envisaged to benefit various aspects of human health, but with the attendant risks of venturing into the unknown, it is also easy to envisage applications to specifically destroy health with covert systems of delivery. It is not difficult to anticipate (and indeed may already be developed) ways and means of suppressing the vitality and health of a nation, unseen and unheralded. Warfare need not be obvious. Just letting the imagination run a little could easily envisage nanotechnology delivery systems as infecting the desert war soldiers with the “virus” causing ‘Gulf War Syndrome’, dosed in any way you will.
    It is also not be too difficult to envisage commercial applications for mind control, such as creating addictive behaviour through the introduction of nano doses of chemicals, or bioelectrical devices to alter perception and responses in order, for example, to create increased demand for a certain product, or specific reactions to certain stimuli.

    Voluntary disclosure of research is obviously pitifully inadequate to counter such threats to the general health and welfare of the human race by unscrupulous organizations, governments and individuals.

    The threat to the natural environment, flora and fauna is just as real. We have through toxic farming and industrial pollution bought this planet to its knees. Will we now compound that by introducing such time bombs as “smart” delayed release insecticides, pesticides and herbicides, sitting unseen, unpredictable and unrecallable in the environment, out of all control? We have to work with nature not invent new ways of polluting and destroying natural systems of balance, essential for the future of us all on the planet.

    Science can produce all sorts of novel solutions to apparent problems, but are they wise and advised and will they stand the test of time to produce the best possible result for all concerned? It is time to be very careful in devising strategy going forward, as history has shown us, mankind can only too easily abuse and pervert. We are creating all our futures – lets make it a good one.

    Comment by Richard Kenchington, Global Bioenergetics Ltd — October 7, 2009 @ 8:35 pm

  9. It is of paramount importance that the general public is fully aware of ALL the possible risks and benefits involved in the application of nanotechnology to all possible areas of our daily lives. Nano products are being used right now, both knowingly and unknowingly, by us daily. If the trust and cooperation of the public and the media is to be maintained, this state of affairs must not continue. Transparency by all stakeholders must be the rule. We do not need a repeat of the biotechnology fiasco. Once trust is eroded, it is almost impossible to regain. I am sure that most of us have a fairly good grasp on the effects loss of trust has on business and the economy, governments, regulatory organisations etc – let that not be the scenario in nanotechnology!

    Comment by Ikechukwu Okadigwe, Student in Nanomedicine, Cranfield University — October 21, 2009 @ 9:31 am

  10. I am very much supportive of developing a national strategy for Nanotechnology and its application to biomedicine. We are working on development of nanoparticle and nanomaterials for biomedical application; these include development of cardiovascular implant, drug delivery and using nanoparticle for diagnostic and treatment of cancer. Our cardiovascular implant using nanomaterial currently undergoing preclinical trial and we have been in contact with regulatory bodies, MHRA and FDA to start clinical trails.

    Our Centre for nanotechnology, Biomaterials & Tissue Engineering has over 7 postdoctoral and 30 PhD students working on development biomedical product using nanotechnology and stem cells. In addition this year we are running a MSc in Nanotechnology & Regenerative Medicine.

    Therefore I would be very much interested to be involve in this initiative.

    Prof Alexander Seifalian
    Professor of Nanotechnology & Regenerative Medicine

    Comment by Professor Alexander M. Seifalian, University College London — October 21, 2009 @ 12:11 pm

  11. The chemicals industry is an enabler for other industries, for example the transition to the low carbon economy. A recent report commissioned by the International Council of Chemical Associations () concluded that for every 1 tonne of greenhouse gas emitted by the chemical industry our products save 2-3 tonnes of carbon emissions. Examples of products, which achieve carbon savings, are building insulation materials, plastic packaging, [non-fouling] coating, textiles and fuel additives and lubricants. All these products can potentially use nanomaterials.

    In line with our Responsible Care commitments the chemical industry strives to optimise the benefits of engineered nanomaterials and nanotechnologies and ensure the safety of its employees, the public and also the environment. The safety of our products, the protection of consumers and our workforce is our top priority.

    The UK has a great potential to develop nanotechnologies to remain one of the key global players. It is however essential that both the European regulatory framework and UK Government funding and tax regime be adequate to allow this to happen. It is also important to reach global agreements on standards (e.g. test methods and definitions) to ensure fair competition globally.

    Comment by Dr Anne-Gaelle Collot, Chemical Industries Association — October 30, 2009 @ 4:13 pm

  12. Which? fully supports this consultation leading to a strategy for nanotechnologies. This is long-overdue given the pace of developments and the many unanswered questions surrounding both potential benefits and risks posed by nano materials that are not being addressed with sufficient urgency. We hope that this exercise will result in issues relating to nanotechnologies being given much greater priority, ensuring that nanotechnologies are used to tackle the key issues facing society and consumers, while also addressing potential safety and broader societal concerns. Given the fact that this strategy is long overdue Which? welcomes the time scale that has been set for the analysis of responses, stakeholder discussions and government response and urges the government to ensure that the deadlines set are kept to.

    Comment by Dr Rob Reid, Which? — October 30, 2009 @ 5:39 pm

  13. This is key to the future of Nanotechnology in the UK. There is a clear need to deal with this toxicologial questions and further develop strong links between accademia and industry. A clear and cohesive, national and long term stratergy is key to the UK becomming a leader in this field.

    Comment by Paul Christain Chair of Nanometerials and Nanotechnology Comittee IOM3 — October 31, 2009 @ 3:37 pm

  14. The National Physical Laboratory welcomes the development of a UK nanotechnology strategy. The nanotechnology world has moved forward since the UK Government had the foresight to commission the seminal report on Nanotechnology from the Royal Society. New products containing nanotechnology are now rapidly appearing and many countries have commissioned very substantial programmes of research and infrastructure development. The UK has had key successes but the opportunities for leadership in important sectors are arguably being taken on more wholeheartedly overseas. This strategy is an opportunity to maximise the benefit of nanotechnology to the UK both from an industrial or economic perspective and also for the benefit of the general population through improvements in health and the environment. In order to achieve the best for the UK this strategy must ensure that swift and effective actions are taken to invest in and coordinate activity in the UK. Key to success is establishing the necessary infrastructure to enable innovation, underpin efficient regulation and enable environmental monitoring while removing or minimising the barriers to the marketing of novel nanotechnology products. Support for industry through innovation in the tools and methods for analysis, measurement and interpretation of data is one aspect. Another is the maintenance and improvement of information resources to enable manufacturers to address regulation. The UK currently has international leadership in standards development through international committees such as ISO TC229. Given the ubiquitous nature of standards and their importance for future regulation it is essential that the UK maintains leadership in this area. The UK’s interests and future success in nanotechnology will be best served by better coordination across government and a directed and well-funded research programme to establish a national infrastructure and to investigate, understand and mitigate any risks associated with widespread adoption of nanotechnology.

    Comment by Dr Neil Harrison, NPL — October 31, 2009 @ 5:06 pm

  15. I have got some printouts which I am going to read and give a proper comments on the documentation at later stage.

    Seeking inputs from various stakeholders is noble idea which is encouraged.

    Good luck,

    Comment by Sekoja Phakisi, African Technology Policy Studies (ATPS), Lesotho Chapter and Loti Brick LTD (PTY) — November 1, 2009 @ 1:45 pm

  16. Nanotechnology sould be one of the key research priorities of the U.K. government. There should be enough fund for academic to perform research onto the toxicological questions and jointly with requlatory bodies and industry to setup a clear and cohesive stratergy for its clinical application.

    Comment by Professor Alexander Seifalian — November 6, 2009 @ 8:50 pm

  17. This is a very good example of joined-up thinking on a number of levels. Firstly, it presents both the potential benefits and risks of developing nanotechnology in an even-handed way and explains how organisations should work together. Secondly it provides a model that allows an enabling technology platform such as nanotechnology (which is highly relevant to a wide range of end industries) can be dealt with strategically in a unified way across multiple industries.

    Comment by Dr Jim Bullock, Intelligent Formulation Ltd — March 22, 2010 @ 6:03 pm

  18. This is a very informative article that i’ve found fascinating. It will be very interesting in the coming years to see how nanotechnology is used throughout all industries and to see what innovative new products are produced as a result.

    Comment by Tim Thurlow — May 25, 2010 @ 2:22 pm

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