The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has announced its decision to provide 25 projects across the country with an extra £15 million, the equivalent of fronting 50% of costs for each project’s total value. A further £3 million will be donated to INEX, a microsystems and nanotechnology facility for industry in Newcastle.

DTI minister Nigel Griffiths said that the Government wanted to give organisations the opportunity to adopt this new technology as the effects would be positive for both British: “Nanotechnology is an important and exciting emerging technology – one that has the capacity to improve daily life for us all. These grants will form part of a range of Government schemes to support this key growth area.”

These grants have been allocated as part of the Government’s £90 million initiative to support micro and nanotechnology applied research programmes, while boosting the creation of new nanotechnology facilities across the UK.

In order to raise awareness of nanotechnology in UK industries and help companies trying to move into this new sector, the Government has also set up the UK Micro and Nanotechnology Network (MNT Network).

Chairman of the MNT Network, Hugh Clare, said that these grants and those to follow would help to secure the UK’s place as a world leader in the emerging field: “The commercial exploitation of nanotechnologies presents a great opportunity for UK business. A well funded and supported nanotechnology sector means more high quality research, more sustainable jobs and increased wealth creation.”

Science Minister Lord Sainsbury announced last year the Government’s micro and nanotechnology manufacturing initiative after an independent study by the Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering confirmed that the technology had considerable environmental (see related story), health and safety, and ethical and social benefits.

By Jane Kettle

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