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International Consortium on Nanotechnology (ICoN)

  • ICoN

    A global network to advance the application of nanotechnologies

  • Supporting excellent scientific research

  • £3m

    Granted in 2015

Following a research call in August 2014, the Foundation funded The International Consortium on Nanotechnology (ICoN) at Southampton University. ICoN was awarded £3 million in 2015 with the aims of:

  • developing a global capability in nanotechnology by providing partial funding for PhD studentships that address the recommendation of the Foresight review in nanotechnology, and
  • establishing a research community in nanotechnology across our grant holders.

An Introduction to ICoN

ICoN, led by Dr Themis Prodromakis from the University of Southampton, has established a programme management board of experts from academia and industry to provide governance and decision making to the project.

In 2015, ICoN launched its first open research call targeted at the recommendations of the Foundation’s Foresight review in nanotechnology. The ICoN model is to provide seed funding for PhD studentships which must be supported by, at the least, matched funding from academia or industry.

The first call attracted 27 proposals from universities across the globe, each of which went through a rigorous peer review by leading academics before a final selection was made by the project management board. Each project was assessed on novelty of the proposed project, quality of the proposal, fit with the recommendations of the foresight review, and relevance. ICoN announced that 10 proposals had been successful from eight countries: Australia, Germany, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Spain, UK, and USA.

In 2016, Themis wrote an article explaining why nanotechnology is important, Five ways nanotechnology is securing your future, for The Conversation, another of our grant recipients. The article was republished in the Guardian newspaper in the UK. ICoN announced its second call for proposals in June 2016. 

As of June 2018,  the Programme Management Board have approved the funding of 36 PhD studentships across a range of themes from sensors, smart materials, energy & storage and computing and communications.

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