Nanotechnology to boost Europe's economy

By Katie Bird

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Nanotechnology, European union

The High Level Conference on Nanotechnology was held this week in
Braga Portugal, in order to discuss the future of nanotechnology
research in Europe.

According to European Science and Research Commissioner Janez Potocnik, the applications of nanotechnology are so wide they will play an important role in Europe's economic future. The conference included a series of plenary sessions that concentrated on policy and political issues relevant to innovation and research, as well as focusing on specific areas of nanotechnology research. The political plenary session concentrated on the initiatives launched at the European level to help develop nanotechnology in Europe. In addition, there was a focus on the Joint Technology Initiatives, which are public-private partnerships that are designed to boost industrial research. Four such nanotechnology initiatives are to come before the European Union's Competitive Council for approval this week. The conference comes at a time when the use of nanotechnology is growing in consumer products, particularly the cosmetics and personal care sector. Although many feel the technology offers significant advances in the field it has come under criticism from consumers, and certain regulatory and research bodies, which believe more should be known about the safety of the technology before it appears in consumer goods. Accordingly, a focus was placed at the conference on how nanotechnology could progress safely and responsibly in Europe, whilst still pushing economic growth in the area. "Nanosciences and nanotechnologies have the potential to drive growth and jobs in Europe, so it is our duty to make sure they are developed in a positive, responsible way,"​ said Potocnik. According to the Commissioner, the European Commission will be issuing a recommendation of Code of Conduct for Responsible Nanosciences and Nanotechnolgies Research. The code of conduct is designed to "promote safe and ethical research on nanotechnology and to pave the way for its effective and responsible application and use",​ said Potocnik.

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