There is a general agreement between experts concerning the key role of micro and nano technology in the economical development. The application of micro- and nano manufacturing technologies is expected to become a critical strategic industrial sector in the coming years as shown by several analysts. Moreover these technologies have been identified as possible areas that would bring Europe to the forefront of global competition.
In the global economy context and facing the exhausting competition of “low cost” countries outside the European Community, it is extremely important to maintain production in Europe, which is an issue of growing alarm, given the current trends in outsourcing to low labour cost economies. Innovation by implementing micro and nano technologies in future products is one of the most efficient ways to face this competitive context.
How can MINAM contribute to overcome this problem? The project proposes a set of activities aiming in curbing this trend by gathering a critical mass of research organisations and industrial stakeholders with complimentary expertise in order to promote industrial innovation in Europe and gain new market shares on the global market.
Therefore the vision of MINAM is to identify and reduce the barriers for faster industrial applications in new knowledge intensive and emerging industries and by doing so to allow micro and nano manufacturing technologies to become core key-enabler in addressing tomorrow’s worldwide socioeconomic challenges.
MINAM has the role of informing its community about foreseeable micro and nano technological trends. In order to do this, it is necessary to analyse, cluster and merge domain-specific information arising in the different European technological communities.
MINAM´s aim to identify such recent streams in the field of micro and nano manufacturing is based on a sound foundation. Having begun with roadmapping activities working on different levels of detail, expert workshops and an extensive analysis of strategic European documents, the MINAM survey 2008/2009 with more than 220 participants (120 from industry) out of 29 countries was the start of a series of periodic activities which will express the MINAM community’s interests.
On the one hand the aim is to bring together relevant micro and nano manufacturing actors from different levels to pave a new, effective way for Europe´s SMEs, in order to get access and exchange information on European level:
As technological solutions are required by different communities, at different times and at different levels of maturity, MINAM, on the other hand, also aims to bring together players from all innovation fields. The aim of this unification is to jointly elaborate strategies for an all-integrated roadmap for micro and nano production. This roadmap, in term, is meant to push advances in micro and nano production in a concerted, innovation centered manner. Therefore, the MINAM cooperation partners come from a broad range of industrial sectors. The figure below illustrates the relative importance of 12 technological categories, which were identified as relevant for addressing the increasingly divergent industry sector specific requirements of key European industries:
Source of these findings was the MINAM roadmapping in the Strategic Research Agenda.
To fulfill these goals, one of the services that were performed by MINAM was to establish new or intensify already existing links between different industrial sectors, to other European Technology Platforms (ETPs), to Networks of Excellence associations (NoEs), to regional clusters, to user associations, and to research and technology centres throughout Europe, in order to identify common elements (from technology needs and bottlenecks) related to micro and nano manufacturing. The ETPs, NoEs, associations and regional clusters targeted were on one side the ones in the sectors directly linked to the grand challenges to be overcome (health, energy and ICT) and on the other side the ones specialised in technologies directly linked to micro and nano manufacturing (manufacturing, nanomaterials, plastic, etc).