State aid: Commission authorises two French R&D aid projects totalling 119 million
The European Commission has decided not to raise any objections under Community state aid rules regarding the financial aid to be provided by the French Industrial Innovation Agency to two research and development programmes, "NanoSmart" and "HOMES". The Commission took these two decisions on the basis of the in-depth study required by the new Community Framework on research, development and innovation aid (see IP/06/1600). The NanoSmart programme for the nanotechnology industries is designed to improve the performance of microelectronic and optoelectronic components. NanoSmart is being carried out by the enterprise SOITEC in partnership with the research centre CEA-LETI. The HOMES programme, aimed at increasing energy efficiency in buildings, brings together Schneider Electric and 15 other enterprises and research centres. The state aid granted is 80 million for NanoSmart and 39 million for HOMES.
EC is world's largest public investor in nanotechnology
With 1.4 billion allocated to 550 projects in the field of nanosciences and nanotechnology, the EU's 6th Research Framework Programme accounts for one-third of total public funding for nanotechnology and is the world's largest single funding agency worldwide for this exciting field. A recent report, focused on the implementation of the 2005 Action Plan for Nanotechnology, shows the strategic importance of nanotechnology, an area of recognised European leadership, and the contribution this field of science can make to the quality of life and economic well-being of Europeans, for example through revolutionary activities in key areas such as materials, electronics and medicine. The European Commission is committed to an integrated and responsible approach to developing nanotechnologies, taking into account all aspects – safety, acceptance by society, ethical implications and so on.