France expands investment in nanotechnology


French prime minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has announced plans to invest €600 million (£516 million) in a five year nanotechnology R&D programme led by French-Italian semiconductor manufacturer STMicroelectronics (ST).

The Nano2017 programme follows on from Nano2012, a similar public-private initiative launched by Jacques Chirac in 2007. The announcement was made at ST’s headquarters at Crolles, near Grenoble, which the company plans to expand. Research will focus on three key areas: low-power, high-performance processing, next-generation imaging (sensors and image signal processors) and embedded non-volatile memories.

The programme will also involve around 130 other partners including the LETI research laboratory (part of the government-funded French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission), university departments, equipment manufacturers and small-medium enterprises. Ayrault said Nano2017 will create thousands of new jobs in France.

The funding total for Nano2017 over five years has been estimated at €3.5 billion. Alongside the government’s initial investment of €600 million, around €400 million will come from Europe and €1.3 billion from ST.


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