COOPERATION

M€ in open calls for proposals for a total Budget of 32.413 M€.
Grants for collaborative R&D Projects involving more than 2 independent entities established in 2 or more EU Member or Associated States, for the development of innovative products, services or processes.

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Nanosciences and nanotechnologies research, development and innovation are governed by an integrated, safe and responsible policy framework. This development strategy is being implemented through a wide range of activities whose purpose it is to ensure that development and deployment of nanotechnology are carried out in a way that takes people's expectations and concerns into account, especially as regards human and environmental safety, and delivers tangible benefits for the citizen and the society.

Sales forecasts for products incorporating nanotechnology range from $1 trillion to $3 trillion by 2015. Current sales figures are still some way away from these figures, but the growth trend is following the projections. Indeed, nanotechnology research results have started to migrate from the confines of the laboratory towards real applications in various industrial sectors.

Societal, governance and health-safety-environment related issues must seamlessly accompany the development of industrial applications. Research must be complemented by, and provide support to a careful review of the regulatory landscape, reflections on ethical issues and outreach.

This is reflected in the WP structure, highlighting four areas of emphasis for nanosciences and nanotechnologies: Maximising the contribution of nanotechnology on sustainable development; Nanotechnology for benefiting Environment, Energy and Health; Ensuring safety of nanotechnology; and Cross-cutting and enabling R&D.

During the second half of FP7, the implementation is characterised by a gradual shift from fundamental research towards more application-oriented research. Faster introduction of nano-based applications into markets contributes to innovation-led competitiveness for European industry as well as provides significant societal and economic benefits.

In this context, the significant public investment made in nanotechnology research must provide a return to society in terms of contributing towards solutions to major societal challenges. Nanotechnology has significant potential to improve sustainability and to become a source of innovation in many industrial sectors.

The aim is, therefore, to cover important European Technology Platform related priorities for sustainability, e.g. in chemistry, construction, textile, fibres and forest based industries, transport and agro-food related sectors, with nanotechnology as the key enabling technology.

Further, Energy, Environment and Healthcare are at the forefront of global challenges, and of concern to every citizen. Notwithstanding the significant economic potential of environmental, energy and health technologies, nanotechnology must stand in the forefront for providing solutions.

In the light of available scientific evidence and public concerns associated with the potential risks of nanotechnologies and their applications, scientific investigators are strongly encouraged to pay renewed attention to safety – the safety of workers, the public and the environment.

This Work Programme stresses not only the necessity to consider safety aspects from the beginning and the desirability of inherently safe design, but also requires that projects include a full scientific and/or technical risk assessment as well as proposals for risk mitigation measures, where appropriate.

Although safety is an integral part of all application related research, there is also a need for a more concerted approach. In nanosafety research, the emphasis of the NMP Theme is shifting from toxicology studies of individual nanomaterials towards more holistic safety assessment and management that manages overall risks.

Agreed methods, techniques, equipment for toxicity studies, occupational exposure assessment and for risk reduction and mitigation will be an important part of this work.

As material systems and device structures become nanosized and nanostructured, significant challenges exist related to design and growth of these structures in a precise and reproducible manner.

The analysis of their three-dimensional structure, properties and functions with a high level of precision poses another challenge.

Detailed knowledge of e.g. the chemical, electronic and magnetic properties of nanomaterials is a pre-requisite for being able to tailor their functions in a controlled way.

In the face of these challenges, the development of a wide range of nano-enabled applications requires continued significant R&D support in crosscutting areas and technologies, such as instrumentation, characterisation, modelling and design.