What to expect from ENF2017

The 2017 edition of EuroNanoForum’s biannual conference will bring researchers, industrialists, policy makers but also EU citizens together and will help them to create together the road map to strengthen Europe’s competitiveness through the latest developments in nanotechnology and advanced materials.

Nanotechnology has become synonymous with innovation and scientific breakthrough. It helps us push the boundaries of what is achievable across a diverse array of scientific fields and industries, whether it’s advances in the treatment of epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease, 3D printing, or making it possible to get every last drop of shampoo from the bottle.

But, on a bigger scale, nanotechnology is also one of the best leverages the European Union can use to build a better future for all its citizens. The political challenges the EU is facing – with divisive forces storming through EU countries and legitimate concerns over the loss of industrial competitiveness and jobs across different sectors – require major action at central level. The EU has taken up this challenge and it firmly believes the best course of action is to foster, support and enhance a close collaboration across research, industry and citizens that will help trigger a re-industrialisation of Europe.

While Europe paid a hefty price for the major benefits the ‘first industrialisation’ brought about (one for all the pollution of our cities and depletion of natural resources), the re-industrialisation that nanotech is contributing to holds the promise to “do it right” this time.

For instance, nanotechnology has long had the potential to revolutionise renewable energy and lower carbon emissions and in 2017 the potential only appears to be growing. Great leaps have been made in solar cell technology, most notably when the use of low cost, bulk manufactured quantum dots were employed to convert sunlight into electricity at greater than ten per cent efficiency.

Nanomaterials are also helping the transport sector, the second largest emitter of greenhouse gases, to reduce its impact on the environment by boosting energy efficiency. Fuel consumption can be lowered significantly with nano-composite materials that reduce the weight of vehicles, nanomaterials such as silica can bring tyres up to the more fuel efficient category A rating.

But this wide industrial impacts of nanotech will have even more relevant societal impacts on the life of EU citizens today and tomorrow. Efficient consumption of energy, green transport and nanomedicine will not only improve the quality of life of the EU citizens but will also offer opportunities to innovative companies to hire and retain talents in all the stations of the value chain. This in turn will enable the consolidation of EU industries in high-tech, digitally-enhanced hubs which will prove the ultimate bastion against internal divisions as well as against external competition.

EuroNanoForum 2017 has been conceived as a forum where the latest technology developments are put in context within their multiple industrial applications and where the industrialists delivering nano-enhanced solutions bring forth their successes – as well as the challenges they face. This rich narrative of latest achievements, industrial possibilities and challenges will provide the background for the European policy makers at the event to address the actions planned for the future of nanotechnologies in Europe and also to take note of the suggestions coming from inside the field.

Lastly, but not less importantly, ENF can also offer to students and EU citizens a valuable insight into the state of the art of European nanotechnologies. On the third day (23rd June) therefore, the entrance to the Nanotech Europe and Poster exhibition will be free of charge for everybody.

It is with great pleasure that the ENF2017 welcomes not only the nanotech community to the event but all the EU citizens who want to get an idea of how their future, as well as their children’s future, will look like.

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