Dublin to host Europe’s largest nanotechnology conference.

Nanoweek 2013 (14-21 June) - a week-long programme of activities designed to promote nanoscience and nanotechnology in Ireland will see Dublin will host the sixth EuroNanoForum conference as part of Ireland’s presidency of the European Council in the Convention Centre Dublin from the 18-20 June 2013.
The conference will showcase nanotechnology innovations to 1,200 delegates from 50 countries with high-profile speakers from industry, government and research, such as Shell, Nokia Research Laboratories, Intel, Philips Healthcare and Max-Planck Institute among others, discussing the economic and technological impact of nanotechnologies on European growth. It is being organised as a joint venture between Enterprise Ireland and Spinverse and supported by the European Commission Directorate for Research and Innovation.

The aim is to increase awareness of nanotechnology and it’s many social and economic implications globally, as well as here on Irish soil. As discussed in my previous blog about scientific citizenship, an increasing need for dialogue between scientific innovators and the public is needed. According to the poeple at EuroNanoForum, Meaningful communication is especially needed in the case of nanotechnology as the public seems to be more sceptical and less differential about it. The purpose of the second day plenary is to draw general public attention to the event and improve their understanding of nanotechnology.

The impact of nanotech on the lifesciences industry will be explored by the likes of Hans Hofstraat, VP of Philips Healthcare, and Patrick Boisseau, the Chairman of the ETP Nanomedicine, will lead the cadre of healthcare specialists in EuroNanoForum 2013. Over 60 million citizens in the EU suffer from hearing loss with its associated restrictions. Pascal Senn, Project Coordinator of NanoCi project from University of Bern, will present on the first conference day at the Healthcare session, how their project is developing implants to improve hearing. NanoCi aims at developing a cost-efficient and fully implantable neuro-prosthesis with substantially increased sound quality. Laurent Levy, CEO of Nanobiotix, will describe how their innovation can cure cancer. The technology involves nanoparticles which increase the dose and efficacy of radiotherapy inside the tumor without causing additional damage to healthy tissues.

One of the claims of the forum is that by 2030, Europe will be a forerunner in sustainable economy. The some of the many contributions of nanotechnology to the cleantech sector will be discussed by the likes of Henning Zoz, the President of the Zoz Group, who will present a concept which will revolutionize the refueling infrastructure. His company is in the process of developing small tank cartridges containing nanostructured powder that can store an enormous amount of hydrogen virtually without pressure – one of the main stumbling blocks of the incredibly promising Hydrogen Fuel industry. Jose Manuel Luna, Head of AIM Development Engineering and R&T at Airbus, will discuss how nano-reinforced composites create more efficient solutions up in the air. Finally, in the Environment and water resources session Gerhard Schottner, the Deputy Head of Fraunhofer Photocatalysis Alliance, describes how new generation surfaces will clean themselves by just being in sunlight. Activated by UV light, titanium oxide molecules in displays, walls, or for example garden chairs trigger a reaction which destroys bacteria, algae and fungi.

Anyone who has been following the nanotech industry will probably be aware of Graphene - the new ‘wonder material’ which is essentially a sheet of carbon which measures 1 atom in thickness but posses a wide range of impressive physical properties and won the 2010 Nobel prize for Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov at the University of Manchester. The European Commission has chosen Graphene as one of Europe’s first 10-year, 1,000 million euro FET flagships. The mission of the flagship is to take graphene and related layered materials from academic laboratories to society, revolutionize multiple industries and create economic growth and new jobs in Europe. Amongst other speakers, Tapani Ryhänen, the Head of Nokia Research Laboratories, brings up the industrial point of view – discussing how graphene can revolutionise mobile communications.

Speaking about the conference, Frank Ryan, CEO of Enterprise Ireland, said: ‘Enterprise Ireland is delighted to be organising the EuroNanoForum in Ireland during its presidency of the European Council. Innovation is critical for economic growth and nanotechnology is a sector which offers endless possibilities. Ireland has great strength in this sector, ranked sixth internationally, and it is fitting therefore that Dublin hosts this year’s Conference. The focus of this EuroNanoForum conference, on the commercialisation of nanotechnologies, exploiting its potential for new applications and taking them further from enabling technologies to end products, will strengthen the all-important link between industry and academia – a link that will ultimately help to underpin Ireland’s economic recovery.”

About the author: Conor Hughes works as a Marketing Executive at Life Science Recruitment

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