Insights into the Future of Nanotechnology

(IPRinfo 1/2009)

Wim Helwegen
Researcher IPR University Center & INNOCENT Graduate School
Doctoral Candidate, University of Helsinki

Nanotech Northern Europe (NTNE) is the largest nanotechnology conference and exhibition in Europe.

NTNE is an annual event that was first organised in 2005 in Helsinki. It has managed to attract in excess of 600 participants for the past few years. From 23rd to 25th September 2008, NTNE 2008 took place in Copenhagen.

The conference consisted of a number of plenary and parallel sessions which were grouped according to main themes like “Health and Bio”, “Electronics”, “Energy” and “Construction”.

Among the plenary sessions was a panel discussion on global developments within nanotechnology. The panelists, Richard M. Russell (Office of Science and Technology Policy, USA), Kazunobu Tanaka (the Japan Science and Technology Agency), Christos Tokamanis (the European Commission’s Nanotechnology Unit), Liu Yuwen (BioBay, China) and Mikhail Kovalchuk (the Russian Research Center’s Kurchatov Institute) discussed various perspectives on the role of governments and public funding within nanotechnology research and development.

Thanks to the various backgrounds of the panelists, the discussion showed interesting contrasts between the various national policies.

The parallel sessions covered a wide range of topics such as drug delivery, tissue engineering, nanoelectronics, food production, waterpurification and risk assessment. Notable speakers like Andre Geim, who discovered graphene, a nanomaterial with a very promising potential, presented their research and gave valuable insights into the advances and future of nanotechnology and its applications.

Beside the science oriented themes, there were several parallel sessions that dealt with investment in nanotechnology.

Views on research-industry cooperation and investors
The investment theme offered presentations from different perspectives and featured presentations on e.g. research-industry cooperation and new approaches to innovation, like Nokia’s cooperation with universities. Other presentations included venture capital participation in nanotechnology and patenting of nanotechnology.

Furthermore, Liu Yuwen gave an insight into BioBay, a science park within the Suzhou Industrial Park, China, that combines R&D, commercial and production facilities within the bio- and nanotech industries.

The organisers had done an excellent job by organising a conference that offered many interesting presentations, not only for stakeholders in the nanotechnology industry itself but also for investors and those who will deal with the applications of nanotechnology within e.g. electronics, ICT, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, materials, chemistry, food, water and energy.
In 2009 the event will move to Berlin, where it will be held from 28 to 29 September.

In 2009, Nanotech Europe (previously Nanotech Northern Europe), which is Europe’s largest annual nanotechnology conference and exhibition, will take place on 28-30 September in Berlin.The occasion has its own web site:
http://www.nanotech.net