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November 10, 2009

EC Adopts 2007-2009 Nanotechnology Implementation Report

Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.

On October 29, 2009, the European Commission (EC) adopted a Communication entitled Nanosciences and Nanotechnologies: An Action Plan for Europe 2005-2009. Second Implementation Report 2007-2009. The Communication outlines the key developments during 2007-2009 in each policy area of the Nanotechnology Action Plan 2005-2009, identifies current challenges, and draws conclusions relevant to the future European nanotechnology policy. According to the Communication, the EC has made significant progress on all points in the Action Plan. The Communication notes that, “[a]s a general remark, the past two years have seen a substantial development of nanotechnology, supported by a further growth in research funding and the active development of policy. . . . In view of this, efforts to address societal and safety concerns must be continued to ensure the safe and sustainable development of nanotechnology.” The Communication states that the EC “is considering proposing a new Nanotechnology Action Plan that would be one of the driving forces of the European Research Area and address important societal and environmental issues.” The Communication and accompanying Staff Working Document are available on the Internet at

The Communication summarizes progress made in the following areas:

  1. Research, development and innovation: Europe needs knowledge;
  2. Infrastructure and European poles of excellence;
  3. Interdisciplinary human resources: Europe needs creativity;
  4. Industrial innovation: from knowledge to the market;
  5. Integrating the societal dimension: addressing expectations and concerns;
  6. Health, safety, environmental and consumer protection;
  7. International cooperation; and
  8. Implementing a coherent and visible strategy at European level.

The Communication proposes to continue and consolidate the present actions in the coming years, with emphasis on:

  • Deepening the research efforts and roadmaps for key nanotechnology sectors, to enhance innovation and competitiveness. This is considered inseparable from advancing fundamental understanding of how nanomaterials throughout their life cycle interact with living organisms, to ensure a high safety level and protection of human health and the environment;
  • Developing infrastructures and the educational system further, consistent with the multidisciplinary character of nanotechnology;
  • Strengthening the mechanisms available for industrial innovation, stressing the concept of open innovation and facilitating technology transfer;
  • Implementing a more direct, focused, and continuous societal dialogue; and monitoring public opinion and issues related to consumer, environmental and worker protection;
  • Continuing to review the adequacy of regulation, adapting as appropriate the implementation instruments, proposing regulatory change where necessary, and engaging where possible with international developments;
  • Surveying the market for products of nanotechnology, including their safety aspects, and likely developments;
  • Stepping up the research effort on safety assessment, including risk management, throughout the product life cycle. Supporting the further development and validation of nanomaterial characterization and test methods; and
  • Enhancing coordination and exchange of information with member states.

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