The EuroNanoForum with the theme “Nanotechnology in Industrial Applications” was held last week in Dusseldorf, one of the last official events hosted by the German Presidency of the EU.
With EUR54 billion committed to the Seventh Financial Protocol (FP7), and EUR1.5 billion going for nanotechnological research, this will be by far the greatest amount of funding ever given out by the EU, even more than funding the Common Agricultural Policy, as Europe tries to catch up with the Lisbon targets and struggles to keep up with world competition.
German Secretary of State Thomas Rachel told the meeting that next year India will be training three times as many scientists trained in the EU.
There is keen international competition for research infrastructures.
Peter Kruger, from Bayer, pointed out the incredible development that has, over the past century or so, led from the transistor to the microprocessor to the computer, to the Internet and now to the digital age. The very first computer, produced in 1946 at the University of Pennsylvania, can now be contained in a single chip. So too will happen with nanotechnology: it has enormous technological and commercial potential.
The semi-conductor industry, for instance, now factoring $260 billion a year, could be supporting a global market of $1.1 trillion and a further £6.5 trillion in services in just a few years’ time.
The applications to which nanotechnology may be applied are infinite, ranging from cars networking with each other to e-passports, e-ID cards used also as drivers’ licence, residence permits, vehicle registration, health cards and social security all in one.