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Home > Nanotechnology Columns > NanotechnologyKTN > The UK Nano & Emerging Technologies Forum 2009

Fiona Brewer

The UK Nano & Emerging Technologies Forum 2009, held on 3rd & 4th November at London's Park Lane Hilton and hosted by the Nanotechnology Knowledge Transfer Network (NanoKTN) and UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), was attended by over 420 delegates, making it the most successful event to date.

November 11th, 2009

The UK Nano & Emerging Technologies Forum 2009

With over 200 one-to-one meetings and international organisations attending from some 23 countries including Taiwan, Sweden, India, Portugal and Japan, the UK Nano & Emerging Technologies Forum is one of the major industry events of the year.

The event saw breakout sessions covering Healthcare & Life Sciences, Materials & Devices and Energy & Environment and provided delegates and exhibitors with a platform for discussion on how nano and emerging technologies can and will create future wealth to the UK and Worldwide.

For the second year running, the UK Nano & Emerging Technologies Forum was host to the Business Innovation Awards, the competition that recognises the best in the UK's emerging technology communities. The competition recognises the top innovative organisations in the UK's emerging technology communities that have made major steps towards real innovative applications.

Three top British nanotechnology firms whose innovations make solar cells more efficient, help in the fight against heart disease, and improve the production of fine chemical compounds won the 2009 Business Innovation Awards.

The Business Innovation Award winners are:
Healthcare & Life Sciences: University College London (UCL) Centre and Regenerative Medicine won for its surgical implant using nanocomposites and stem cell technology, which will make a highly positive impact on a new generation of heart valve substitutes and coronary artery bypass grafts. Professor Alexander Seifalian said: "I'm extremely pleased at this recognition for University College London and our team. I hope this will help push our medical implant forward by commercialisation."

Energy and Environment: AM Technology, from Runcorn in Cheshire, has developed a new flow reactor for the continuous manufacture of chemical compounds for the pharmaceutical industry, which looks set to drastically improve manufacturing yields for the UK. AM Technology's Robert Ashe commented: "We are extremely grateful to UKTI and NanoKTN. As a small company, this recognition can only help to raise our profile."

Materials & Devices: Promethean Particles from Nottingham won the award for the development and manufacture of dispersed high specification inorganic nanoparticles, with applications in green energy storage, such as more efficient solar cells, and healthcare. Accepting the award, Sandy Gordon commented: "This is great recognition of our achievements. We already have customers overseas, but this award will increase our profile."

The winners will all be presented with funds to assist them to attend and take part in an overseas nanotechnology event.

Lord Davies of Abersoch, the Minister for Trade, Investment and Small Business commented: "Here in the UK we have a truly first-class record of innovation. The country's most forward-thinking companies are helping to shape the future and secure our future prosperity. I am determined that the UK should remain a world leader in innovation. With the support of UK Trade & Investment, this event provides a platform for trailblazers who want to take their business to the world."

Baroness Valentine, Chief Executive of London First, who presented the awards, added: "I congratulate the winners on their success. London is home to more of the world's top universities than any other city. The UK as a whole has four of the world's top six, and they typically spin out around 200 companies a year. Whilst London is best defined as a global talent hub, it can also be described as the world's largest science park, with financial and legal advice close at hand."

Director of the NanoKTN, Alec Reader adds, "Widespread commercial uptake of emerging technologies is vital to the wealth-creating power of the UK, and nanotechnology is leading the way in driving the future wealth of UK economy. The Business Innovation Awards recognise positive developments in nanotechnology and actively help businesses to further develop and launch commercially viable applications."

Day two of the UK Nano & Emerging Technologies Forum 2009, saw the winners of the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Young Scientists awards announced.

The EPSRC provided the awards as a way of encouraging young scientists and engineers to promote the underlying potential of emerging micro and nanotechnologies and to raise the profile of UK academic research in nanotechnology, as well as providing networking opportunities between researchers and members of UK and International business communities.

Research projects into the superconducting material niobium carbonitride, thermoelectric temperature sensors and the use of Porphyrin-DNA, have been finalised as the winners of this year's Awards.

Mark Raine, Department of Physics, Durham University, was awarded first prize for his research into improving the upper critical magnetic field of the superconducting material niobium carbonitride. If successful, this material could provide a new class of nanocrystalline high field superconductors that would facilitate step-change improvements in superconducting magnets, and hence, improve MRI scanners, energy storage devices and fusion reactors.

Mark Raine comments on the awards, "Winning this award shows I have captured the attention of others and the recognition is a wonderful encouragement for the team I work with. I am at a very exciting time in my research and this has given an additional motivating factor in the pursuit of my goal. These awards are so valuable as they allow us to see what work is being carried out in areas of critical importance and I would recommend them to others looking to promote their work."

Second place was awarded to a research poster by Joe Atherton, also at Durham University, whose research is based on microfabrication technologies to create thermoelectric temperature sensors with a spatial resolution of around 1-20microns. The eventual aim of the project is to create a probe which is sensitive enough to determine the thermal properties of plant leaves and link these properties to the water content of the leaf/plant.

Such a device would allow real-time monitoring of the water-needs of a crop and allow tailored irrigation, conserving water whilst also improving crop yields.

Thao Nguyen Nguyen, University of Southampton, awarded third place, looked at the use of Porphyrin-DNA as a scaffold for Nanoarchitectures. The research paid particular attention to the synthesis of porphyrin DPP (diphenyl porphyrin) and its attachment onto DNA to study the structure and electronic properties of the DNA-porphyrin arrays.

Chris Jones, Head of RCUK Nanoscience Programme at EPSRC comments,"The awards create a channel where basic nanotechnology can be taken through to application. Embedding an awareness within the next generation of researchers about the importance of impact, will strengthen a problem-driven approach to research within academia and in doing so, enable genuine solutions to emerge to the problems that business and society face on a daily basis. The winners of this year's awards are an inspiring group of young researchers, whose work will benefit business and society."

Toby Gill of the NanoKTN adds, "The EPSRC awards encourages uptake from young scientists and provides them with the opportunity to communicate their research to a broader audience, one that they would not normally expect to meet. The experience of meeting this wider community is aimed at focusing the researchers' minds on where their research could have impact in the modern world."

For further information on the UK MNT community and the NanoKTN, please visit or email

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