UK takes lead in European nanotechnology development


20 October 2004

For something so small, nanotechnology will have a major impact on our daily lives in the coming years. A science as advanced as this in its embryonic stages has, unsurprisingly, attracted a great deal of questions and raised some concerns. BSI is working to standardize nanotechnology, which will assist in its safe development and deliver it to the marketplace.

The science of nanotechnology seeks to manipulate the interactions between atoms and molecules measured in billionths of a metre – that’s 80,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair. Applications will be as diverse as society allows them to be. From self-cleaning windows to silicon structures that can take drugs to the exact location of a tumour, nanotechnology is predicted to create a market worth over $1tn within the next ten years.

In January of this year, the Committee for European Standardization (CEN) circulated a UK proposal to its members to set up a Working Group on standardization for nanotechnology. The proposal was overwhelmingly accepted by CEN members, and a group was created under the leadership of BSI and the UK. The aim of the group is to review current activities and to report to CEN on recommendations for future standardization. BSI has established a national committee to provide the UK input into this review. BSI is also carrying out a project sponsored by the DTI, to bring together commonly used terms within nanotechnology so that a standardized set of terms can be established.

BSI’s John Terry says: "It’s not the role of standards to prohibit product development. The buyer in the UK wants to be sure that the manufacturer is making things of a universal standard. We want to facilitate that process, to give the manufacturers the tools for the job. Consumer confidence is very important and I believe standardization will provide that by helping to control this new technology."


For more information please contact:

Wilma Tulloch on +44 (0)20 8996 6330 OR
Marc Edney on +44 (0)20 8996 6330