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Posted: March 27, 2008
European micro- and nanotechnology research organizations join forces
(Nanowerk News) VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland starts collaboration with the European top research centres by integrating its electronic-based micro and nanotechnology research activities with them. Established in 2006, the Heterogeneous Technology Alliance (HTA) includes members such as the Swiss CSEM, French CEA and German Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft.
Through the collaboration the members can utilize each other's expertise and research facilities. The alliance has been established to restructure research in order to target resources more effectively. There are over 5000 researchers working solely in the area of micro and nanotechnologies within the HTA.
VTT's President and CEO, Erkki KM Leppävuori, highlights that Finland has exceptional expertise to offer through VTT and that VTT is quite enthusiastic to participate in the research collaboration.
In the global scale, HTA is a very significant operator as well as a unique entity when developing competitiveness and innovation activities within the area of micro and nanotechnology. HTA is more than a collaboration network. It enables the restructuring the way research is being carried out in Europe. For these reasons, VTT is very motivated to be an active contributor in this alliance.
Strategic partnerships and the European economy
The thrust of HTA is to develop strategic partnerships with European and global industry, as well as the European Union, enhancing innovation by technology transfer to industrial applications. The main objectives of HTA are:
Provide world-class solutions to customer needs by offering the joint technological know-how and capabilities of the partners
HTA will be providing one-stop solutions, leveraging all the aspects of its technologies. A secondary objective is the sharing of strategic and scientific information and the development of valuable synergies within this new network. For the 5000 researchers working within the alliance, this means unprecedented opportunities for learning and exchanges within a rich and stimulating environment.
Creating economic value from research activities
The increased focus of public funds for applied research means that alliances like HTA are inevitable in ensuring that promising research areas can be efficiently pursued. No single research institute is capable of covering the whole range of technologies, infrastructures or competences required, bearing in mind that innovative solutions and products can only arise from a broad combination of technologies and competences.
HTA covers the complete value chain, from research to engineering and small-volume production. The combination of the technological infrastructures and competencies of the four institutions enables HTA to offer a portal to solutions for automotive, aeronautics & space, information & communication, healthcare & wellness, energy and environment, and industrial process control.
Cooperation between the partners is initiated by defining key areas of research and subsequently identifying joint projects. This approach enables each institute to offer their customers - especially small- to medium-sized firms - access to cutting-edge research and development at a very early stage, thus giving these companies a distinct competitive advantage. The development of the next generation of micro-nano systems has already benefited from this cooperation, with a first step being the development of a facility network.
A crucial link between research and industry
The HTA partners have decided to create a jointly owned company to increase their presence in those parts of Europe where they have not fully exploited the market potential. This entity will concentrate mainly on the acquisition of industrial projects, and will thus enable the creation of significant added value.
Impact on European leadership in microsystems technology
Europe is currently a leader in the field of microsystems, both in terms of research and industrial development, and microsystems represents an important enabling technology for many world-leading European companies. In order to remain competitive, and to respond to increasingly complex technological requirements - as well as the multidisciplinary nature of 21st-century research - it is now more vital then ever to pool knowledge and expertise.