Developing a University strategy for nanoscience and technology

Colleagues from relevant faculties are to be invited to comment on the current state and future development of nanoscience and nanotechnology (NST) across the University.

This follows a decision by the Faculty Management Group (FMG) to approve the establishment of a group to develop a University-wide strategy for this activity.

Peaks of excellence in NST research already exist across the University - such as the Astbury Centre, the Centre for Molecular Nanoscience, and the Molecular and Nanoscale Physics research group - which have attracted research council funding and excellent staff.  These activities will continue whilst these groups remain successful.  However, one thing that has been lacking at Leeds is the ability for the diverse NST activities to act in a coherent way in order to respond to external opportunities, and, through internal collaboration, to build an overall activity that is greater than the sum of the constituent parts.

At present, EPSRC leads the RCUK 'Grand Challenge' in Nanotechnology.  Any successful research proposal from a UK university, must be based upon a critical mass of internationally-leading research that is coherent both in terms of strategy and management.

The establishment of this steering group therefore, is the first step towards building a University-wide strategy for NST.  The group will assess current University activity in NST,look at opportunities for future development of research and innovation across campus and, potentially, further development of student education provision.  This will also help with co-ordination of existing activity, identifying areas of strength and allow the University to focus on areas where our research aligns with external opportunities.

The steering group will supported by a working group and any interested staff from across the faculties will be invited to contribute to the strategy development.  The anticipated timescale of this work is 6-9 months, following which the NST steering group will bring its recommendations to FMG and Senate.

Whilst the strategy work is underway, the work at the Centre for Molecular Nanoscience (CMNS) and student education activities will continue.  However, following a recent exercise to reduce accommodation costs in the faculty, from the start of next academic session CMNS academic activities will relocate to the main body of the School of Chemistry.

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