Nanoscale research can potentially provide solutions to fundamental societal problems in areas such as the environment, health and energy. Success in such scientific investigations and their applications will inevitably impact positively on the global community, but only if society is able to engage through international collaboration and access to information and opportunities – without economic and political barriers.

In its Action Plan for Nanotechnologies[1], the European Commission (EC) places great emphasis on global collaboration, stating 'International cooperation in N&N (nanoscience and nanotechnology) is needed both with countries that are economically and industrially advanced (to share knowledge and profit from critical mass) and with those less advanced (to secure their access to knowledge and avoid any "nano divide" or knowledge apartheid)'.

By networking scientists, researchers and organizations together, it is possible to appeal to motivational interests that transcend notions such as competitiveness and discrimination. This not only prevents a technology gap between developed and developing countries, but also ensures that developing countries have the opportunity to exploit nanotechnologies for their own benefit.

It is fundamental to this goal that complementary skills, knowledge and experience are shared, not only between EU scientists but between the EU and third countries. This maximises the potential of EU research by establishing collaborations with scientists and groups that have complementary experience in other regions, and by developing and exploiting shared resources.

The ICPC Nanonet Project is a four-year initiative funded by the EC that aims to foster such collaborations between Europe and International Cooperation Partnership Countries (ICPC), thereby assisting in the transformation of N&N from a resource-intensive to a knowledge-intensive industry across the globe.

Currently halfway through its four-year time frame, the project provides:

  • an electronic archive of nanoscience publications that is freely accessible to researchers around the globe and allows researchers to keep abreast of new S&T developments. It hosts almost 7000 items and all researchers are encouraged to archive their papers;
  • an electronic database of nanoscience organizations and networks in ICPC, and links to nanoscience researchers and stakeholders worldwide, allowing for the identification of research expertise and capacities in ICPC regions;
  • annual reports on nanoscience developments in eight ICPC regions: Africa, Asia, Caribbean, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Latin America, Mediterranean Partner Countries, Pacific, and Western Balkan Countries. These focus on areas for collaboration, funding, national, regional and inter-regional initiatives and networks;
  • online networking tools (forums, workshops) to actively network scientists and researchers. Any scientist or researcher can host a workshop; and
  • annual workshops, one each in the EU, China, Russia and India, which are webcast live to facilitate greater access.

A highlight of this year’s workshop in Beijing was a round-table discussion examining strategies and policies for international collaboration. Participating in the talks were 19 prominent nanoscientists and researchers from Belarus, Belgium, Brazil, Cameroon, Chile, China, Ethiopia, Holland, India, Iran, Jamaica, Malaysia, Morocco, Senegal, South Africa, Uganda and the UK. This in itself is evidence of what is achievable by the scientific community when the economic and political barriers are overcome or swept aside.

The summary and workshop proceedings can be seen on the free, limited-edition DVD, available from: http://www.icpc-nanonet.org

[1] Nanosciences and nanotechnologies: An action plan for Europe 2005-2009, COM(2005) 243.

The ICPC-NanoNet website

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Welcome! Nanopaprika was cooked up by Hungarian chemistry PhD student in 2007. The main idea was to create something more personal than the other nano networks already on the Internet. Community is open to everyone from post-doctorial researchers and professors to students everywhere.

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Publications by A. Paszternák:

The potential use of cellophane test strips for the quick determination of food colours

pH and CO2 Sensing by Curcumin-Coloured Cellophane Test Strip

Polymeric Honeycombs Decorated by Nickel Nanoparticles

Directed Deposition of Nickel Nanoparticles Using Self-Assembled Organic Template,

Organometallic deposition of ultrasmooth nanoscale Ni film,

Zigzag-shaped nickel nanowires via organometallic template-free route

Surface analytical characterization of passive iron surface modified by alkyl-phosphonic acid layers

Atomic Force Microscopy Studies of Alkyl-Phosphonate SAMs on Mica

Amorphous iron formation due to low energy heavy ion implantation in evaporated 57Fe thin films

Surface modification of passive iron by alkylphosphonic acid layers

Formation and structure of alkylphosphonic acid layers on passive iron

Structure of the nonionic surfactant triethoxy monooctylether C8E3 adsorbed at the free water surface, as seen from surface tension measurements and Monte Carlo simulations