Micro and Nanotechnology Centres

Micro and Nanotechnology Centres

Establishment of the Micro-Nano Technology (MNT) Programme

In 2002 the Government published the Taylor Report which recognised that investment in nanotechnology was increasing rapidly worldwide.

Following the Taylor Report, an announcement was made by Lord Sainsbury of £90m of funding for the Micro and Nano Technology Manufacturing Initiative. This funding was committed between 2003 and 2007. The resultant projects and capital investments are currently still running, although several of the earlier completed during 2008.

Approximately one third of this investment went to Collaborative R&D MNT Projects, and two thirds to capital infrastructure. Fifty MNT projects were approved through targeted competitions run in 2004-5, with a total project value of almost £60m, including £29m of Technology Strategy Board funds.

Subsequently micro/nano technologies have been included within relevant broader collaborative R&D competitions, principally in the materials, medicine and electronics areas.

The formation of a regionally dispersed network of MNT Facilities, which together form a broad national portfolio of services and capabilities in key areas of micro and nano technology, was a joint investment with the Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) and the Devolved Administrations (DAs) of Wales and Scotland.

These were targeted at addressing a broad range of key areas where micro/nano scale activity was considered key to future UK industry capability and where the UK had some strength. The aspiration was for a distributed network of world-class manufacturing facilities with focus on strategic areas for the UK. The facilities were structured to cover the continuum from micro to nano scale.

The facilities generally built on existing University or business expertise, and were established with the intention of becoming, in time, self financing (with the exception of the nano-medicine and metrology fields, where a measure of ongoing public support is likely to be required, but has not been committed by the Technology Strategy Board).

The Technology Strategy Board has taken responsibility for these facilities, and is developing a clear understanding both of their potential strengths and weaknesses. We are encouraging the establishment of links between a number of the facilities so that they will be genuinely seen as national capabilities rather than providing a limited regional role.

The Technology Strategy Board has recently carried out a strategic review of the UK's publicly-funded Micro and Nano Technology (MNT) facilities. Read the Technology Strategy Board statement regarding this here.

Last updated on Tuesday 10 April 2012 at 11:35

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