Our society urgently needs a sustainability transition in which many aspects of human activities will undergo fundamental changes. Such transition consists of several separate transitions that show mutual interaction: e.g. an energy transition, a transition towards a circular economy (including a new manufacturing industry) and a transition in health and nutrition with a focus on the quality of life. In an analogous way as former revolutions (industrial revolution, ICT revolution), this transition will be driven by new disruptive technologies. Innovative technology waves that are likely to have a major contribution to this sustainability revolution are:

  • Nanotechnology
  • Biological engineering
  • Process intensification and miniaturization (flow chemistry)
  • Additive manufacturing

These technologies are converging and have intensive interaction. Nanotechnology plays a prominent role in each of the other technology waves. The most interesting developments seem to happen at the interfaces.

In view of the urgency of the sustainability transition and the unsatisfactory situation of developments in nanotechnology, an acceleration of these developments is needed especially the use of nanotechnology in relevant applications and the translation into new commercial activities. This seems to be very different for the various nanoparticles or functional nano systems. Today there is uncertainty towards customers’ requirements, production level of nanomaterials, which has consequences with respect to investment. This is a viscous circle.