UK-JAPAN: International nanomaterials research

The Japanese government has located a new research offshoot at The Nanoscience Centre at the University of Cambridge. The British university is one of four institutes located outside Japan to host a satellite of the Japanese International Center for Materials Nanoarchitectonics, known as MANA.

The University of California, Los Angeles, the Georgia Institute of Technology and CNRS, France, will host the other three branches. Two will be located in Japan at Tsukuba University, Tokyo, and Hokkaido University, Sapporo.

MANA is expected to create world-class research centres and will be implemented under the supervision of top scientists from Japan's National Institute for Materials Science. The 10-year, $US150 million programme is aimed at developing innovative materials that contribute to sustainable development - a major shift in materials research.

The Cambridge offshoot will be led jointly by Professor Mark Welland, who heads the nanoscience group in the electrical engineering division at Cambridge, and Dr David Bowler from the centre for nanotechnology at University College London.

It builds on international links developed as part of a British Research Council-funded Interdisciplinary Research Collaboration in Nanotechnology and provides for a long-term platform to enhance scientific exchanges with the premier materials laboratory in Japan.

MANA provides support for projects aimed at creating top research centres staffed with the world's leading researchers.

Welland said it was an honour to be part of one of the world's premier institutions funded through the Japanese government. The resources provided to Cambridge in collaboration with facilities in Japan would have long-term and substantial benefits to British research.

The university's nanoscience centre research facility was completed in 2003 and provides open access to more than 300 researchers from various Cambridge departments to the nanofabrication and characterisation facilities housed in a combination of "clean rooms" and low noise laboratories. (See

The London Centre for Nanotechnology is an interdisciplinary enterprise between University College London and Imperial College London. The centre aims to attain the critical mass to compete with the best facilities abroad. See