Monday, June 13, 2011

Community Members Euronanoforum in Hungary Attracts 1200 Nanotechnology

1200 members of the nanotechnology community from over 50 countries gathered in Budapest, Hungary, for days of presentations, networking & inspiration in the work of EuroNanoForum 2011. The event was supported by the European Commission & Hungarian National Innovation Fund, & was organised by the National Innovation Office in partnership with Spinverse under the auspices of the Hungarian Presidency.

The event was also able to contribute to the continued discussion about the future of nanotechnology both in terms of the continued work to support Key Enabling Technologies & the Common Strategic Framework. An industrial panel in the work of the closing plenary discussed ways in which public funding could contribute to the whole innovation pipeline, from research through demonstration to commercialisation & deployment.

The event drew together nanotechnologies which could contribute to the solution of grand challenges, including renewable energy, ageing populations, & resource efficiency. Presenters described hundreds of solutions such as nanoparticle-based cancer therapies, retinal & cochlear implants, nanomaterials for improving energy density of batteries & mass production of flexible solar cells, & materials to improve the performance & energy efficiency of electronics. A plenary presentation on the potential applications of graphene also underlined the fact that nanotechnology is being constantly expanded by new developments & discoveries.

The event hosted a venture capital session, where leading investors from Europe gave awards for start-up companies. The winner of Best Start-up Award was Nanoference from Denmark with its ambitious, disruptive business plan based on scientific discovery. Skeleton Technologies from Estonia got a special mention for a very well structured pitch. General observation from the session was that Europe is walking short of venture capital funds. More public funding & tax policies were expected to speed up growth of European start-ups. Research funding needs to be complemented with instruments that support also product development & business development.

Athanasios Skouras from University of Patlas received the EuroNanoForum 2011 award for the best poster introduced by a young researcher. An exhibition accompanied the event, at which 60 organisations introduced themselves. The best exhibitors, as voted for by attendees included NanoNext, the Netherlands nanotechnology network, the NMPTeAM network of national contact points, & Estonian electrospinning pioneer Esfil Tehno. A matchmaking event on 1st June also saw 425 meetings happen, stimulating networking for know-how transfer & for new project consortia.

Pekka Koponen, CEO of Spinverse, added that "the high interest in this event, & the number of exhibitors, industrial participants & close to market nanotechnology developments confirm our own research which shows that nanotechnology has become highly relevant for competitiveness & growth."

"This event has exceeded our expectations, & they were delighted to be able to host so plenty of members of the European nanotechnology community. Simultaneously this was a great opportunity to present Hungarian nanotechnology research activities & results to the European nanotechnology community. They hope the developments & discussions that have taken place in the work of this event will bear fruit for Europe in the coming years," commented Gyorgy Meszaros, President of the National Innovation Office of Hungary.

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