Report on EU Presidency's 14-15 September conference on nanotechnologies
Helsinki, 15 September 2006
The conference "Nanotechnologies: Safety for Success" organized by the Finnish Presidency on 14-15 September 2006 in Espoo, Finland, attracted some 200 participants. For the first time, a Presidency conference on nanotechnologies brought together representatives from public administrations from within and outside the EU, a broad range of industries, the research community as well as citizens', consumers', and environmental organizations.
A lively dialogue took place to see how to ensure that innovation in nanotechnologies takes place in a safe, integrated, and responsible way. Minister Hyssälä highlighted, "The development of high technology, such as nanoscience and technology, requires public engagement and trust". This is in line with the Finnish Presidency innovation top priority and the EU Ac-tion Plan for "Nanosciences and Nanotechnologies".
The development of advanced technologies, like nanotechnologies, requires public engagement and trust. A number of the public policy measures concerning "lead markets" such as emerging nanotechnologies necessitate coordination at national European and international level in the scientific, the metrological, and the regulatory fields. Coordination is essential to capitalize on the European innovation system, to set international safety standards, and to es-tablish a level playing field for international trade.
Emerging nanotechnologies require a series of bold but operational innovation and competitiveness policy measures. The conference acknowledged that the novel properties of nanomaterials differ from the bulk material and therefore require a special safety evaluation.Participants emphasized the importance of predictable, innovation-friendly regulatory framework, performance-based standards, a balanced innovation policy approach combining technology supply with user interests, intellectual property rights that encourage creation, and fostering a culture that welcomes and sustains innovation. This innovation policy approach will be further elaborated during the informal European Council in October, in Lahti, Finland.
The conference recognized progress to date as well as the need for making advances in sci-ence, test methods, instrumentation, definitions, standards etc. It highlighted coordination, a sustained conversation with all stakeholders and an agreed roadmap within the EU and at the international level as priorities. Consequently, it recommended that the European Commission strengthen coordination on how to integrate safety and competitiveness in nanotechnologies.
Further information:Ministerial Adviser Juha Pyötsiä tel. +358 50 555 6333Chief Councellor Pekka Lindroos tel +358 50 413 5522