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The King of Spain, Juan Carlos I, the
President of Portugal, Anibal Cavaco Silva, the President of the Government of
Spain, José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and the Prime Minister of Portugal, José
Sócrates, together with the Spanish Minister of Science and Innovation,
Cristina Garmendia, and the Portuguese Minister of Science, Technology and
Higher Education, José Mariano Gago, inaugurated the International Iberian
Nanotechnology Laboratory (INL).
The INL is the first laboratory in Europe dedicated to nanotechnology
endowed with an international legal framework. It also is the first
international research organization in any scientific area in the Iberian
Peninsula. INL brings for the first time to nanotechnology the advantages and
opportunities that were provided to other areas by international research
organizations like CERN, EMBL and a few others. It is a joint initiative of
the Governments of Portugal and Spain decided in November 2005, and has
already established partnerships with prestigious universities and research
centres in Europe, North America and Asia. The construction of the INL main
building is finished and it will now receive the initial staff in order to
start operation, pursue the international recruitment of researchers of
excellence from all over the world, and be fully operational for research
activities by the end of 2009.
Nanotechnology - working at the scale of atoms and molecules and having
an enormous potential impact in several fields of science and applications
such as medicine, industry and others - is considered by the European Union
(EU) as a key strategic driver for future economy and social development, as
it can contribute to increase competitiveness among existing and new
industries as well as produce great medical advances. This is also reflected
by the EU Member States which have earmarked a total of (euro)3.5 billion for
funding nanotechnology over the duration of the EU's Seventh Framework
Programme for research and technological development (2007-2013).
The construction of the Laboratory is supported in equal parts by
Portuguese and Spanish funds and counts with the partial support of European
Community regional development funds from the "Transborder Portugal-Spain
Cooperation Programme" (POCTEP 2007-2013) and the "Portugal North Region
Operational Programme" (PO NORTE).
"Combining human capital with technology and knowledge, INL will work on
a strategy focused on results, taking advantage of its international legal
status to deliver results of value," states José Rivas, INL's
Director-General. "We believe that with the contribution of all, we can spread
top level scientific results around the world with consequences for the
economy and society."
INL will work closely with universities, research centres and business
incubators from all over the world to indentify projects in four priority
areas: Nanomedicine; Environment monitoring, Food quality control and
security; Nanoelectronics and nanomanipulation.
INL is planned to grow to reach 200 researchers, including 25% of tenured
positions. With an additional 100 PhD students, and about 100 technicians,
administrative and other auxiliary personnel, the total number of people
working at INL will be about 400.
During the past two years, INL has already established strategic
partnerships with prestigious research centres and universities(1). All of
these joint ventures involve challenging research projects in the area of
nanoscience and nanotechnology. The main purpose of this knowledge network is
to create close links between institutions sharing information, technologies
and resources, as well as to develop science solutions to meet some of the
current needs of our society.
The International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory (INL) is now opening
to the membership of other countries in the world.
(1) Micro and Nanotechnology Centre of the Denmark Technical University
(Denmark); Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Centre - iNano-Aarhus
University (Denmark); Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry
in Gottingen (Germany), Max Planck Institute of Colloids and
Interfaces in Potsdam (Germany; Max Planck Institute of
Microstructure Physics in Halle (Germany); NIMS - National Institute
of Materials Science - Tsukuba (Japan); University of Glasgow
(Scotland, UK); Centre for Functional Materials - Brookhaven National
Laboratory (USA); Chemical Engineering Department of the University
of Texas at San Antonio, (USA); MIT - Massachusetts Institute of
Nanotechnology has the potential to profoundly change our economy and to
improve our standard of living, similarly to the impact information technology
had in the past two decades. Numerous products featuring unique properties of
nanoscale materials are already available to consumers and industry today.
Most computer hard drives, for instance, contain giant magnetoresistance (GMR)
heads that, through nano-thin layers of magnetic materials, allow for a
significant increase in storage capacity. Some other current uses that are
already in the marketplace include catalysis, coatings for easier cleaning or
glare-reducing. It is likely that solar cells can be significantly improved
with nanotechnology. The pharmaceutical and chemical industries are also being
impacted by nanotechnology, both on advanced drug delivery systems and medical
diagnostic tools. For instance, a new range of medical treatments is arising,
for certain diseases such as Alzheimer and brain tumours.
Hill & Knowlton Canada
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