Nanosciences, Nanotechnologies, Materials and new Production Technologies

22/12/2006 - NMP WP



NMP - Open Calls


To improve the competitiveness of European industry and ensure its transformation from a resource-intensive to a knowledge-intensive industry, by generating breakthrough knowledge for new applications at the crossroads between different technologies and disciplines.



To enhance its competitiveness, European industry needs radical innovations. It must concentrate its capabilities on high-added-value products and technologies to meet customer requirements, as well as environmental, health and other societal expectations. Research is integral to meeting these competing challenges.

A key element of this theme is the effective integration of nanotechnology, materials sciences and new production methods so as to achieve and maximise the impacts for industrial transformation and, at the same time, supporting sustainable production and consumption. The theme will support all industrial activities operating in synergy with other themes. Applications in all sectors and areas will be supported and this includes materials sciences, high performance manufacturing and process technologies, nanobiotechnology or nanoelectronics.

The medium term approach is to focus on a convergence of knowledge and skills drawn from different disciplines exploiting application-driven scientific and technological synergies. In the long term the theme aims to capitalise on the enormous prospects of nanosciences and nanotechnologies for the creation of a true knowledge-based industry and economy. In both cases it will be essential to ensure uptake of the knowledge generated through effective dissemination and exploitation of the results.


Activities Include:


• Nanosciences and nanotechnologies:


The objective is to create materials and systems with pre-defined properties and behaviour, based on increased knowledge and experience with matter at the nano scale. This will lead to a new generation of high added-value, competitive products and services with superior performance across a range of applications, while minimising any potential adverse environmental and health impacts. Interdisciplinarity, integrating theoretical and experimental approaches, will be promoted.

The focus will be new knowledge on the interactions of atoms, molecules and their aggregations with both natural and artificial entities. The research will also address the relevant instruments, tools, pilot lines and demonstration activities required for highly novel approaches to nanotechnology-based manufacturing in the most promising industrial sectors.

In addition, the activity will focus on related challenges and the societal context and acceptance of nanotechnology. This will include research on all aspects of risk assessment (e.g. nano-toxicology and -ecotoxicology), as well as safety, nomenclature, metrology and standards which are becoming increasingly important to pave the way for industrial applications.


• Materials:


New advanced materials with higher knowledge content, new functionalities and improved performance are increasingly critical for industrial competitiveness and sustainable development. According to the new models of manufacturing industry, it is the materials themselves which are becoming the first step in increasing the value of products and their performance, rather than the processing steps.

Research will focus on developing new knowledge-based materials with tailored properties. This requires an intelligent control of intrinsic properties, processing and production, and taking into account potential impacts on health and the environment throughout their entire life-cycle. Emphasis will be placed on new advanced materials obtained using the potential of nanotechnologies and biotechnologies and/or “learning from nature”, in particular higher performance nano-materials, bio-materials and hybrid materials.

A multidisciplinary approach will be fostered, involving chemistry, physics and increasingly the biological sciences. Materials characterisation, design and simulation are also essential to better understand materials phenomena, in particular the structure–property relationships at different scales; to improve materials assessment and reliability, and to extend the concept of virtual materials for materials design. The integration of nanomolecular- macro levels in chemical and materials technologies will be supported for developing new concepts and processes such as in catalysis, and process intensification and optimisation.


• New Production Technologies:


A new approach to manufacturing is required for the transformation of EU industry from a resource intensive to a knowledge-based industrial environment and will depend on the adoption of totally new attitudes towards the continued acquisition, deployment, protection and funding of new knowledge and its use, including towards sustainable production and consumption patterns. This entails creating the right conditions for continuous innovation (in industrial activities and production systems, including construction, devices, and services) and for developing generic production “assets” (technologies, organisation and production facilities) while also meeting safety and environmental requirements.

The research will focus on a number of strands: the development and validation of new industrial models and strategies covering all aspects of product and process life-cycle; adaptive production systems that overcome existing process limitations and enable new manufacturing and processing methods; networked production to develop tools and methods for co-operative and value-added operations at a global scale; tools for the rapid transfer and integration of new technologies into the design and operation of manufacturing processes; and the exploitation of the convergence of the nano-, bio-, info- and cognitive technologies to develop new products and engineering concepts and the possibility of new industries.


• Integration of technologies for industrial applications:


The integration of knowledge and technologies of the three areas of research above is essential in order to speed up the transformation of European industry and its economy, while adopting a safe, socially responsible and sustainable approach. The research will focus on new applications and novel, step-change solutions responding to major challenges, as well as to the RTD needs identified by the different European Technology Platforms. The integration of new knowledge and nano-, materials-, and production-technologies will be supported in sectoral and cross-sectoral applications such as health, construction, space industry, transport, energy, chemistry, environment, textiles and clothing, pulp and paper, and mechanical engineering, as well as in the generic subject of industrial safety.