Nanotechnology is already a reality
The computer you are using right now to read this text has components developed from nanotechnology. It is no coincidence that ever lighter, thinner and more powerful machines are rolled out on the market each year. Additionally, some of the medications today are more effective, with fewer side effects, thanks to nanotechnology. These are but two examples of the technology’s potential applications.
Clearly, a technology this new and with unlimited possibilities for development was certain not only to draw the attention of research centres and universities, but the attention of the market as well. After all, these are novel, efficient and even revolutionary products at the research and development stage as we speak, with enormous economic potential, just waiting to be introduced in the market. Aware of this potential, the Brazilian government has been keen to track, incentivize and regulate this new market niche as it has continued to grow in recent years.
With specific respect to the regulatory aspects surrounding nanotechnology, the European Union (EU)-Brazil Sector Dialogues Support Facility has played an important role. As part of the Project’s 7th Call, in 2014, the Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovation and Communications (Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia, Inovações e Comunicações – MCTIC) presented an action plan to contract Brazilian and European experts for the purposes of mapping regulatory initiatives adopted in Brazil and in the EU. In addition, the experts were asked to make recommendations regarding the structure of the laboratories in Brazil, with a view to their accreditation and the development of sector regulations consistent with the international setting.
The proposed action also involved a Brazil-EU mission, which led to the initiative’s principal result. “The participation in the Sector Dialogues was essential, as the Project mission served to kick off talks on Brazil’s participation in the NANoREG Programme”, according to Luciana Landim Carneiro Estevanato, technologist at MCTIC. NANoREG is an EU initiative aimed at providing scientific support to regulatory proposals in the field of nanotechnology. A subsequent EU mission to Brazil gave NANoREG representatives the opportunity to learn more about the organisation of Brazilian laboratories and the human resources dedicated to research in this area, providing a more precise assessment of Brazil’s capacity to take part in the international initiative.
Additional measures in 2014 included agreements on research targets as well as the development of protocols to be implemented by 2016. In June of this year, Brazil presented the results of the effort, having successfully achieved all the targets. Now we are entering a new stage, with new targets to de defined based on the areas deemed most pertinent to Brazil, as reported by the General Coordination for Micro and Nanotechnologies (Coordenação-Geral de Micro e Nanotecnologias – CGNT) of the MCTIC.
Thanks to the backing of the Sector Dialogues Support Facility in 2014, Brazil and the EU are now firmly on the path to build more harmonious regulatory frameworks, a process which will contribute to fostering increased exchanges between the two sides for the development of pioneering innovations and solutions in the field of nanotechnology.
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