Environmental Nanoscience Initiative

Programme overview

The Environmental Nanoscience Initiative was £5 million programme split over two phases. Its aim was to answer some questions of basic nanosciences research; into fate and behaviour, ecotoxicology and ecological effects of engineering nanoparticles.

Background & objectives

Nanotechnology is the design and manufacture of substances typically between one and several hundred billionths of a metre in size. In this size range the properties of substances can change quite radically, offering potentially large socio-economic, health and environmental benefits. For example, nanofuel additives could help reduce emissions and particles from diesel engines. Nanoparticles may also be able to help remove persistent pollutants in soils and groundwaters. The potential for use of nanomaterials is huge and is reflected by an explosion in global research and development investment.

Reports & key findings

The following case studies are linked to this research programme. Full details of each case study are available from NERC's Science Impacts Database.

New 'nano-toxin' sensor for continuous monitoring licensed to Modern Water (PDF, 57KB)
Synopsis: A miniature 'mimic membrane' on a chip, that detects dissolved pollutants down to the nano-scale, has been licensed to a UK-based company specialising in protecting water supplies and in water and wastewater treatment.

Managing nanoparticle wastes from consumer products (PDF, 56KB)
Synopsis: A new discovery about nanoparticle behaviour in sewage treatment plants will improve the environmental management of nanoparticle wastes from foods, cosmetics, medicines and other products.


The following documents and links are related to or give more information about this programme.

ENI Phase 2 brochure (PDF, 901KB)

Small World ENI brochure (PDF, 3.3MB)

Announcement of Opportunity (AO) / Request For Applications (RFA) for proposals to the UK-US Environmental Nanoscience Initiative-2 (PDF, 335KB)

External links