EC to promote nanotech investment

The European Commission’s research commissioner has unveiled plans to invest up to E700m in the sector over the next four years.

The European Commission is to inject E700m into nanotechnology between now and 2006. Philippe Busquin, the EU research commissioner, believes that the funding is necessary for the sector.

Speaking to eFinancial News, Busquin said that public-private partnerships were vital if the sector was to have any success in Europe.

The US government is already allocating $700m per year to the sector in the States, which involves the manipulation and design of substances at a molecular level, enabling scientists to control the fundamental properties of matter.

Despite the sector’s broad governmental support, some investors remain sceptical as to its commercial appeal. A Goldman Sachs investment manager was recently quoted as saying he ‘would run in the opposite direction to anything with the word ‘nano’ appended to it.’

However, a number of European firms have already shown signs of committing to the sector, with 3i and Siemens Venture Capital among the firms currently looking at potential investments in the sector. Other VC companies showing interest in the sector include TLCom Capital Partners, UBS Venture Capital, Deutsche VC, Wellington Partners and Ventizz Capital, although few firms presently have analyst teams dedicated to the field.