(2) how much money the Government plans to spend on nanotechnology in the next five years; and how this funding programme will be structured.
The Government intend to provide continued funding for nanotechnologies over the next five years. Funding will be directed towards a programme of research to address the potential risks posed by engineered nanoscale materials. Further funding will help industry to maximise the potential benefits of nanotechnologies by contributing to research, knowledge sharing and infrastructure development.
Decisions on the amounts of funding have yet to be taken. However, the Government's first research report, published in November 2005, and a progress report in October 2006 set out current and proposed work and indicate what further research is needed to address the potential risks posed by engineered nanoscale materials. The new Technology Strategy Board will have responsibility for “science to business” collaborative research and development, and Knowledge Transfer Networks (one of which will build on the work of the Micro and Nano Technology Network). We will also be promoting the substantial funding opportunities within the EU framework programmes which we co-fund with other member states. We are working internationally to ensure that the UK funds research that complements, and does not duplicate, other research around the world.
The outcomes of nanotechnology research to address the potential risks posed by engineered nanoscale materials are assessed by the relevant Departments and agencies, with coordination by the Nanotechnology Research Co-ordination Group. It is too early to draw conclusions from the outcomes as few projects have been completed.
This Department has commissioned an independent regulatory overview to identify any regulatory gaps. The overview report will be published before the end of 2006 and will complement the reviews already carried out by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Food Standards Agency and the Health and Safety Executive. The report will inform Government work with those bodies which make or influence regulation, such as the OECD and the EU, and the British and international standard-setting organisations.
(2) what UK Government policy is on nanotechnology; and what resources are available to implement the policy.
UK Government policy is to work in partnership with industry, civil society groups, the research community, the public and the international community to ensure that nanotechnologies are developed in a way that maximises the benefits to the UK while minimising potential risks throughout the life cycle of nanoscale materials, where possible within an internationally harmonised framework of controls.
Relevant Government Departments and agencies and research councils co-operate in the implementation of this policy and contribute funding for administrative resources and specific activities. Work to address the potential risks posed by engineered nanoscale materials is coordinated and given strategic direction by the Nanotechnology Issues Dialogue Group, which comprises representatives from those bodies, and supplemented by the Nanotechnology Research Co-ordination Group which sets the agenda for research work in this area. The Council for Science and Technology is currently carrying out an independent review of the Government’s delivery of their agenda for the responsible development of nanotechnologies and will report in spring 2007.