Nanotechnologies are one of the key enabling technologies which are considered to be of systemic importance for the innovative capacity of a wide range of industries and the economy as a whole. But partly due to the fact that nanotechnologies are still in a phase of rapid technological development and due to the fact that the already broad range the broad range and complexity of the relevant technological trajectories is still growing – and this includes the commercialisation trajectories of potential applications of nanotechnologies - it is a real challenge to overcome fragmentation of research and innovation efforts across Europe. In addition, uncertainties about the properties of nano-materials and about potential risks of the use of nanotechnologies, make it difficult to create a stable governance and regulatory environment in which nanotechnology development in research and technology, in industrial products and in societal use can flourish.
One of the key challenges the NanoData project addresses results from the fact that there is no general lack of data about nanotechnology-related developments: a large number of projects in Europe, in the European Member States and around the world has led to large streams of data and information on all kinds of aspects; the key issue addressed in this project is therefore to provide a coherent framework:
- in which these data and pieces of information are presented in a way which provides systematic insights in the whole nano-value chain, from scientific research to market, from the basic materials, via nano-enabled components and products, to “end-of-life” solutions,
- in which the interconnections between different aspects can be shown,
- which is up-to-date, providing insights in the recent dynamics in the field of nanotechnology, nano-industries and related markets,
- which makes visible how issues of risk and regulation relate to these developments, and
- which make this integrated information base adequately accessible for the wider public, for interested stakeholders and for specialists at the same time.
The NanoData project is a framework contract held by a consortium consisting of TNO, TECNALIA, Joanneum Research, Frost & Sullivan, University of Leiden, Nanotechnology Industries Association, and Oakdene Hollins; within the next four years, projects under the framework contract will contribute to creating and improving the conditions, which will allow researchers and European industries to safely master the properties of nanomaterials and to innovate with nanotechnology. Each individual project will consists of three typical work packages:
- annual nano-landscape compilation
- ex-ante impact assessment
- ex-post impact assessment