June 14, 2007

Richard Jones will be UK Senior Strategic Advisor for Nanotechnology

Professor Richard Jones of the University of Sheffield has been appointed as the Senior Strategic Advisor for Nanotechnology, taking up the post from 1 June 2007.

Professor Jones will spend 3 days per week advising EPSRC on the development and implementation of its Nanotechnology Strategy. He will also act as an advocate for nanotechnology and for EPSRC both within the UK and internationally.

Nanotechnology is a priority research area for EPSRC. Key elements of the Strategy include developing a series of nanotechnology Grand Challenges, equipment sharing and provision for doctoral level training.

Professor Richard Jones said: "Nanotechnology, responsibly developed, could help meet a number of society's pressing needs in areas like sustainable energy and medicine. I am looking forward to working with EPSRC and the research community to ensure the UK is at the forefront of the global competition to develop exciting science and valuable applications in nanotechnology."

Professor Richard Jones is Professor of Physics at the University of Sheffield. He leads the Polymer Physics group, and conducts research into the properties of polymers and biopolymers at surfaces and interfaces. In his research, he aims to learn from some of the principles used by nature - self-assembly and molecular responsiveness - to create synthetic nanodevices such as molecular motors.

The strategy announces some relatively modest increases in funding from the current level, which amounts to around £92 million per year, much of which will be focused on some large-scale “Grand Challenge” projects addressing areas of major societal need.

By a number of measures, the UK is underperforming in nanotechnology relative to its position in world science as a whole. Given the relatively small sums on offer, focusing on areas of existing UK strength - both academically and in existing industry - is going to be essential, and it’s clear that the pharmaceutical and health-care sectors are strong candidates. Nature Nanotechnology’s advice is clear: “Indeed, getting the biomedical community— including companies — to buy into a national strategy for nanotechnology and health care should be a top priority for the nano champion.”

A pdf has the UK nanotech strategy most of which is primarily following NNI type evolutionary efforts.

It should also see more support and follow up for the UK Ideas Factory, which I think has some promising projects.