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Home > Nanotechnology Columns > Steffi Friedrichs > Welcome to the monthly column from the Nanotechnology Industries Association (NIA).

Steffi Friedrichs
Director
Nanotechnology Industries Association

Abstract:
2007 is the year in which nanotechnology has re-entered the UK's political agenda. After the publication of the globally applauded Royal Society / Royal Academy of Engineering report 'Nanoscience and nanotechnologies: opportunities and uncertainties', published in July 2004, and a brief response to the report issued by the Government itself, the debate about nanotechnology left the public arena. Its main issues, however, continued to be discussed in stakeholder forums, regulatory committees and governmental review panels, giving rise to the numerous initiatives and activities we continue to witness throughout 2007:

June 23rd, 2007

Welcome to the monthly column from the Nanotechnology Industries Association (NIA).

Welcome to the monthly column from the Nanotechnology Industries Association (NIA).

Our history:
Formed in 2005 by a group of companies from a variety of industry sectors including healthcare, chemicals, automotive and consumer products, the NIA creates a clear single voice to represent the diverse industries' views in the multi-stakeholder debate on nanotechnology.

Our services:
The NIA provides a purely industry-led perspective derived from the views of the collective membership and forms an interface with government, acting as a source for consultation on regulation and standards, communicating the benefits of nanotechnologies and interacting with the media to ensure an ongoing advancement and commercialisation of nanotechnologies.

Our members:
Currently, our membership is made up of over 65 industrial companies all at different stages of their life-cycle and with a variety of interests in the huge range of technologies that derive their benefit from the nanoscale. For a list and introduction of (nearly all of) our members, please have a look at the NIA Members' Profiles ( http://www.nanotechia.co.uk/members/members_profiles.htm ).

Our 1st Column:
2007 is the year in which nanotechnology has re-entered the UK's political agenda. After the publication of the globally applauded Royal Society / Royal Academy of Engineering report 'Nanoscience and nanotechnologies: opportunities and uncertainties', published in July 2004, and a brief response to the report issued by the Government itself, the debate about nanotechnology left the public arena. Its main issues, however, continued to be discussed in stakeholder forums, regulatory committees and governmental review panels, giving rise to the numerous initiatives and activities we continue to witness throughout 2007:
This nanotech-year was kick-started by a rather critical report entitled 'Nanosciences and Nanotechnologies: A Review of Government's Progress on his Policy Commitments' ( http://www.cst.gov.uk/cst/business/files/nano_review.pdf ) from the Government's CST (Council of Science and Technology) Nanotechnology Review Committee, which urged the UK Government ‘to take the swift and determined action necessary to regain its leading position in nanotechnologies'. Aiming to encourage a balanced communication between all stakeholders, the CST report gave a number of detailed recommendations to both government departments and the NIA, to establish proactive collaborations in support of a transparent approach to nanotechnologies' R&D, manufacture and commercialisation.
The CST report, which received high-profile coverage from international media, including an article in the Financial Times entitled 'World Lead in Nanotechnology lost', caused a flurry of action within the UK, of which we have only seen the first steps.
Soon after the report, and in full support of the CST-recommended balanced information, the UK Government Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) launched a report on the 'Environmentally Beneficial Nanotechnologies: Barriers and Opportunities'
( http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/nanotech/policy/pdf/envbeneficial-report.pdf ). Overwhelmed with the wide spectrum of nanotechnology applications that could be beneficial to the environment, ranging from the sustainable supply of drinking water to environmental remediation to increasing process efficiencies, the authors of the report decided to cover energy-beneficial nanotechnologies only, exploring the application of nanotechnologies in the areas of insulation, photovoltaics, electricity, engine efficiency, and the hydrogen economy.
The report was very well received, and, in order to keep proactive momentum going, several other initiatives have been developed and more reports are due to be launched throughout 2007, including a conference in the House of Commons (UK Parliament), entitled 'Nano Task Force Conference: Nanotechnology - is Britain leading the way?', and a report on the results of long-term studies into the uptake and benefit of public engagement within the nanotechnology debate, delivered by the UK's 'Nanotechnology Engagement Group' and the 'Nanodialogues Project'.

As a service to the nanotechnology industries, the NIA has launched a series of quarterly workshops for its members:*
- NIA Masterclass and Workshop: MICROMEGA - REACH for Nanomaterials (9th May 2007)
- NIA Masterclass and Workshop: The public Face of Nanotechnology - a workshop about managing the communication space (26th July 2007)
- NIA Masterclass and Workshop: Nanotoxicology Risk Management (working title) (8th November 2007)

(* Participation in NIA Workshops is reserved to NIA Members only, but a limited number of seats are available to guests; to find out more about the events, or to receive the proceedings of a workshop, please contact ).

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