Nano Group, University of Southampton

Nano Group

International Consortium of Nanotechnologies is making an impact

One of the ICON students, Theresa Schötz (University of Southampton), working in a laboratory in Japan while undertaking preliminary studies relevant to her current project.
One of the ICON students, Theresa Schötz (University of Southampton), working in a laboratory in Japan while undertaking preliminary studies relevant to her current project.

The International Consortium of Nanotechnologies (ICoN), led by the University of Southampton, is featured as a case study in Lloyd’s Register Foundation review of 2016, entitled "Making an Impact".

The Lloyd’s Register Foundation (LRF) is a charity that helps to protect life and property and support education, engineering-related research and public engagement. The Making an Impact review outlines the impact they’re making in becoming one of the world’s leading engineering research and education charities.

ICoN receives funding from the LRF and is featured in the Making an Impact review for its work in developing a global network to advance the application of nanotechnologies. Dr Themis Prodromakis, of the Nanoelectronics and Nanotechnology research group in Electronics and Computer Science, is the Director of ICoN and says "The support of Lloyd’s Register Foundation is key to our mission. Lloyd’s Register itself is well known for promoting safety worldwide for more than 250 years. The Foundation has become a catalyst to support research, training and education for the benefit of society. We are delighted to work alongside them.”

The ICoN feature appears below and the Review can be downloaded in full from the LRF website.

A global network to advance the application of nanotechnologies

Following a research call in August 2014, the Foundation funded The International Consortium on Nanotechnology (ICON) at Southampton University. ICON was awarded £3 million in 2015 with the aims of:

  • developing a global capability in nanotechnology by providing partial funding for PhD studentships that address the recommendation of the Foresight review in nanotechnology, and
  • establishing a research community in nanotechnology across our grant holders.

ICON, led by Dr Themis Prodromakis from the University of Southampton, has established a programme management board of experts from academia and industry to provide governance and decision making to the project.

In 2015, ICON launched its first open research call targeted at the recommendations of the Foundation’s Foresight review in nanotechnology. The ICON model is to provide seed funding for PhD studentships which must be supported by, at the least, matched funding from academia or industry.

The first call attracted 27 proposals from universities across the globe, each of which went through a rigorous peer review by leading academics before a final selection was made by the project management board. Each project was assessed on novelty of the proposed project, quality of the proposal, fit with the recommendations of the foresight review, and relevance.

ICON announced that 10 proposals had been successful from eight countries: Australia, Germany, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Spain, UK, and USA.

During the year, Dr Prodromakis wrote an article explaining why nanotechnology is important, Five ways nanotechnology is securing your future, for The Conversation, another of our grant recipients. The article was republished in the Guardian newspaper in the UK.

ICON announced its second call for proposals in June 2016. It is planning its first conference in April 2017 to bring together nanotechnology researchers from across the Foundation’s grant portfolio together with industry in order to showcase the nanotechnology work that is being carried out by Foundation grant holders. The conference also will also engage with industry to better understand the challenges that future ICON calls can specifically address.

Posted by gb2r13@sot on 26 Jan 2017.