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Home > Nanotechnology Columns > NanotechnologyKTN > NanoKTN 2011 Round-up

Fiona Brewer

2011 has been an active time for the NanoKTN with 27 events, international activity, the continued support of the EPSRC CASE Awards, publication of the second edition of the UK Nanotechnology Directory, as well as the continued development of its 14 focus groups and the _connect platform. The extensive events have been invaluable in continuing to raise the awareness of nanotechnology across a variety of industries, keeping those working in this sector up-to-date on new developments and facilitating key partnerships that have led to commercial successes in the UK.

The NanoKTN's online membership has grown at a rapid pace with over 800 new members joining in the last year alone. Membership at the end of 2011 stands at over 2,650 and this continues to grow with around 60 new members joining each month.

December 16th, 2011

NanoKTN 2011 Round-up

International Activity
NanoMission Japan 2011: The International NanoMicroClub (INMC) project, a joint initiative between the NanoKTN and Institute of Nanotechnology (IoN) has continued to bring success to UK companies in 2011. Launched in 2010 to raise the profile of UK companies abroad and to foster greater links with overseas suppliers, the three missions to America and Russia in 2010, and finally Japan in 2011, have helped over 20 UK based companies to expand their overseas profile and secure sales contracts and services abroad in the first few months.

The third and final INMC mission visited ‘nano tech 2011' - the largest nanotechnology event in the world - in Tokyo, Japan in February 2011. Mission delegates included BHR Group, Bio Nano Consulting Ltd, Promethean Particles, Mantis Deposition, Mode Diagnostics Ltd, Izon Scientific Ltd, Nanoco, Engrid Consulting, and Oxford Advanced Surfaces.

Two of the companies have since made equipment sales and research and development services from the meeting worth over £100k and are planning to go back to Japan to secure further deals, whilst another company secured an important distribution deal for its nanoparticle measuring instruments in Japan.

Brian Borrill, Sales Manager, BHR Group comments on the Japanese mission, "As a direct result of our attendance at the exhibition we are now in negotiation with a large multi-national Japanese company for them to represent us in Japan and we have made contact with a Spanish company with whom we are discussing an FP7 collaboration."

NanoMed Mission Switzerland: In May 2011, the NanoKTN, in partnership with the HealthTech and
Medicines KTN, FCO Science & Innovation Network and the Swiss Embassy London, took a mission of the UK's leading companies and academics applying nanotechnology to healthcare, to visit the centres of research excellence in Geneva/Lausanne, Basel and Zurich in Switzerland.

The mission was led by Prof. Lord Alec Broers, previous chair of the House of Lords Science & Technology Committee and a well known figure in nanotechnology, and the delegation comprised of the UK's largest pharma company GSK, plus Applied Nanodetectors, Aseptika, Izon Science Ltd, Pharmidex, QuantuMDx and Swiss Precision Diagnostics, as well as a number of academics representing the Bristol Heart Institute, London Centre for Nanotechnology, the Centre for NanoHealth at Swansea, and the Universities of Leeds and Sheffield.

Anne Barnett, Izon Sciences said of the NanoMed Mission Switzerland: "Even just doing one day was great! I have a lot of leads to follow up on."

UK Nanotechnology Directory
In September 2011, the NanoKTN launched the second edition of its UK Nanotechnology Directory, a guidebook to the UK's world-class micro and nanotechnology (MNT) sector, featuring over 450 organisations active in nanotechnology in the UK.
The UK Nanotechnology Directory, available for free to anyone working within the MNT industry, provides users with information about companies, R&D facilities, and services available in the UK. As well as offering the potential to identify possible collaborative partners with specific expertise and technology, it will be used to promote the expertise of UK businesses to a national and international audience, ensuring competitors and potential investors and partners are aware of the strength of the UK MNT industry.

Individuals and organisations that work in the UK MNT sector can request a free copy of the UK Nanotechnology Directory by emailing .

In April 2011 the NanoKTN announced the allocation of two EPSRC CASE Awards to the University of Bath, collaborating with Pilkington Group Ltd, and Manchester's Metropolitan University, collaborating with United Utilities. These projects will look at the development of photocatalytic coatings for self-cleaning and architectural glazing applications, and smart nanomaterials for the detection of natural (and) synthetic pollutants.

The collaborative studentships are allocated by UK Research Councils and are a unique way of linking academic research with industrial need. Collaborative studentships are supported by companies that offer funding to students, in addition to their already secured EPSRC funding. By offering these opportunities, companies hope they will encourage development into the UK's strong nanotechnology market and gain from the research that is undertaken.

The NanoKTN had an exceptionally high number of applications this year, all of which were of a very high standard. The NanoKTN therefore highlighted these projects to the EPSRC for consideration and funds became available in May 2011 which enabled the NanoKTN to award 3 additional studentships to the Universities of Birmingham, Oxford and Sheffield to work on Nanotechnology projects with Oxford Photovoltaics, Domino UK and Stryker Corporation. The research projects will focus on polymer based dye-sensitized solar cells, additives to improve the adhesion and performance of inks, and anti-microbial agents in nanohydroxyapatite coatings for titanium implants.

Success Stories
The NanoKTN's primary aim is to encourage and support UK organisations to collaborate and share knowledge with key partners in attractive end user markets to achieve growth of the UK micro and nanotechnology sector.

Creating partnerships to expand businesses is essential to SMEs. It can take months, or in some cases years, to see contacts turn into contracts but the NanoKTN continues to see the real impact of its activities with companies launching new products, expanding, securing contracts and finding international markets, all through the support of the NanoKTN.

Support from the NanoKTN Boosts Growth and Expansion of UK SME Stratophase: Stratophase's Business Development & Commercial Officer, Sam Watts, believes support from the NanoKTN has had a significant impact on the success of the business. The University of Southampton spin-out doubled its manufacturing capability by moving to a new building three times larger than its previous site.

"By attending NanoKTN events we have been able to expand our knowledge and expertise of what our end-users want by gaining direct contact with our customers and partners. This has helped us increase business interest which has ultimately enabled us to secure further funding and expand. Increased investments have enabled us to expand into new offices and as a result, double our production capacity for our core technology. I believe the support and opportunities from the NanoKTN have helped us reach this position," explains Watts.

NanoKTN Helps UK Nanotechnology SME Grow to Industry Leader: Ongoing support from NanoKTN staff and events has helped UK SME Plarion secure business leads and forge relationships with key collaborative partners. As a result, scientific engineering company Plarion has grown to become a leading manufacturer in its field.

Plarion's Systems Development Manager Jackie Cole has been directly involved with the NanoKTN since the company's launch in 2009, attending events as an exhibitor, delegate and presenter. Actively engaging as a member of the NanoKTN has provided Plarion with vital intelligence about R&D facilities and services available in the UK, as well as providing opportunities to identify possible collaborative partners with specific expertise.

Jackie Cole, Plarion comments; "Being a member of the NanoKTN has been a huge benefit to us as a Company, especially when we were entering the market as a new business. Attending events has enabled us to connect with other companies and individuals with similar interests and it is the definite focus of the NanoKTN's events that has led to us generating more leads at these events than any others. Without the platform provided by the NanoKTN, many of our customers would not have heard of us."

NanoKTN Events Help UK SME Toumaz Secure New Business: Toumaz has secured new prospects as a direct result of attending specialist events hosted by the NanoKTN. In addition, by exchanging knowledge with industry and academic partners, Toumaz has been able to differentiate its products from competitors in its field, giving the company and its technology, a unique edge.

Richard McPartland, Product Group Manager at Toumaz comments, "I have had follow-up meetings with key customers as a result of networking at NanoKTN events, leading to sales of our Telran development kit - a key step towards a ‘design in', which proves the value of engaging with the NanoKTN to us. I would recommend NanoKTN membership and events to anyone who wants to gain valuable networking opportunities and knowledge for their business."

The Future
The year ahead looks set to be busy with many events already in the schedule including another Mission to nano tech in Tokyo, Japan, a second Nano4Design Workshop on ‘Nano-enhanced Textiles', and a workshop on ‘Nanotechnology for Advancing Plastic Electronics'.

The NanoKTN encourages anyone working in the MNT sector to register for free membership with the NanoKTN. NanoKTN members have access to a broad range of benefits and services designed to support the exploitation and commercialisation of nanotechnologies. Events and workshops offer a forum where all parts of the supply chain can interact and forge partnerships and collaborations. The NanoKTN supports its members to identify and source funding for technology research, development and demonstration. In addition, the NanoKTN originates a number of Directories which are free of charge for members to access and feature in, providing an excellent opportunity to promote their capabilities, facilities, products and services.

For further information about the NanoKTN, its activities and to register as a member visit:

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