Our History

The Nanotechnology Industries Association was founded in 2005 with a singular focus: help build the positive enabling environment required for nanotechnology to thrive. Nanotechnology was a young industry, but with enormous potential. The ability to reliably produce nanomaterials had been achieved and researchers were discovering new ways to transform the health, sustainability and productivity of our lives.
However, building a supportive environment required enormous work and direct engagement with governments, regulators, NGOs, consumers and the media. This was not a task for one organisation, but required collaboration across all sectors to achieve their common goal. NIA was created to take on this challenge.
In 2005, the United Kingdom was leading the world in assessing nanotechnology in both the public and private sector, making London a natural home for NIA. The organisation quickly became a leader and valued partner among nanotechnology stakeholders. NIA contributed to seminal policy documents, such as the UK Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution’s ‘Novel Materials in the Environment: The Case of Nanotechnology’, engaged directly with policymakers, including testifying in parliament, and formed collaborations that would shape the industry. The NIA-led public-private partnership PROSPEcT brought together the private sector, universities and governments to develop the toxicology data needed to assess nanomaterial safety. The results of this project have formed the foundations for functional nanotechnology regulatory systems around the world.
These successes delivered worldwide recognition to NIA and increasingly drew the organisation into international nanotechnology discussions. In response, the Nanotechnology Industries Association opened their global offices in Brussels, Belgium in 2009. Preceded by a reputation as a responsive, transparent partner, NIA was quickly engaged in policy, regulatory, advocacy and communications collaborations in Brussels. Our organisation ensured a strong voice for nanotechnology industries was heard in key European forums throughout the next six years. NIA was invited to participate in high-profile projects like NANoREG and MARINA, contribute data to key institutions like the Joint Research Centre and work directly with government authorities like the European Chemicals Agency.
Throughout its history, NIA has worked tirelessly to demonstrate our industries’ commitment to transparency, engagement and collaboration. We believe working with all members of the value chain to understand their needs, questions and concerns is the only way to realise the full potential of nanotechnology. Our history is a story of productive cooperation achieving results, and we are proud to have helped build the positive environment for nanotechnology we see today.
Learn more about the history of NIA in our 2014-2015 Annual Report.