The NanoCap project was a European FP6 Capacity Building project from 2006-2009. This website shows the highlights and the main results of the project. This site is up-to-date until the end of 2009. After 2009 the individual participants continued their nano-activities and communicated about this using their own channels (see Contact and partners).

Introduction to the NanoCap project

Nanotechnology is a major growth area in research and industry. Applications of nanotechnology include advanced materials, textiles, prosthetic implants, food and drugs. Nanosizing products has many benefits. However, there is also a serious debate about the potential hazards of nano-particles (<100 nm), when introduced into the environment and the workplace.

NanoCap was a European project that is set up to deepen the understanding of environmental, occupational health and safety risks and ethical aspects of nanotechnology. Therefore a structured discussion was organised between environmental NGOs, trade unions, academic researchers and other stakeholders.

NanoCap is the acronym for “Nanotechnology Capacity Building NGOs” and  the project  was funded by the European Commission, from the FP6 Science and Society programme. The duration time of the project was 3 years from September 2006 until September 2009.

This project  enabled environmental NGOs and trade unions to participate in a debate on nanotechnology at European level. It  improved their understanding of this new technological field, and it  gave them the opportunity to formulate their positions within their actual policy context supported by scientific input, to inform their members and the general public and to discuss the issues.

In addition to NGOs and trade unions, NanoCap has developed recommendations to enable public authorities to address the health, safety and environmental risk issues related to the rapid introduction of nanotechnology into society. At the same time it was the goal of this Coordination Action to give also industry the tools to introduce a “responsible nanotechnology”, i.e. to stimulate industrial and academic R&D performers to focus on source reduction regarding nano-particles and to make risk assessment an important dimension in their work.

NanoCap was a consortium of 5 environmental NGOs, 5 trade unions and 5 universities that  held a series of focused working conferences, in which a structured enhancement of stakeholder capacities was planned. The universities took care of scientific input for the conferences. NGOs and trade unions developed in their positions after discussions with their members. A portfolio on ethical issues and a position concerning “responsible nanotechnology” was  prepared and actively disseminated.

A final Conference of the NanoCap project was organised with STOA/European Parliament at the European Parliament, Brussels on the 2nd of April 2009, where the involved TUs and NGOs had the opportunity to present their positions and perspectives on nanotechnologies.