HC Deb 17 September 2003 vol 410 cc765-6W
Mr. Wray

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assistance is given to companies researching nanotechnology; what proposals she has to increase its use in British industry; and if she will make a statement on(a) its future and (b) the improvements it can bring. [129153]

Ms Hewitt

Support for nanotechnology research and training in excess of £125 million over the last six years has been provided by OST, via the Research Councils, to UK universities. This has laid a solid foundation for future commercial investment and exploitation. The SBS "Smart" Scheme has helped many small companies, including university spin-outs, to develop their ideas from this technology. Other initiatives, for example the LINK Basic Technologies for Industrial Applications R&D programme, and other LINK programmes in the electronics, IT, chemicals, materials, and biotechnology sectors; although not dedicated to nanotechnology, have also supported projects that enable UK companies to collaborate with universities and commercially exploit this technology.

On 2 July my noble Friend the Minister of State for Science and Innovation announced a £90 million programme over the next six years to help industry harness the commercial opportunities offered by nanotechnology. My Department is partnering with the Regional Development Agencies and Devolved Administrations to facilitate regional investment in facilities.

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