Following the Taylor Report
, an announcement was made by Lord Sainsbury of £90m of funding for the Micro and Nano Technology Manufacturing Initiative. This funding was committed between 2003 and 2007.
Approximately one third of this investment went to Collaborative R&D MNT Projects, and two thirds to capital infrastructure. Fifty MNT projects were approved through targeted competitions run in 2004-5, with a total project value of almost £60m, including £29m of Technology Strategy Board funds.
Subsequently micro/nano technologies have been included within relevant broader collaborative R&D competitions, principally in the materials, medicine and electronics areas.
The formation of a regionally-dispersed network of MNT Facilities, forming a broad national portfolio of services and capabilities in key areas of micro and nano technology, was a joint investment with the Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) and the Devolved Administrations (DAs) of Wales and Scotland.
These were targeted at addressing a broad range of key areas where micro/nano scale activity was considered key to future UK industry capability and where the UK had some strength. The aspiration was for a distributed network of world-class manufacturing facilities with focus on strategic areas for the UK. The facilities were structured to cover the continuum from micro to nano scale.
The facilities generally built on existing University or business expertise, and were established with the intention of most becoming, in time, self financing. When established in 2007 The Technology Strategy Board took on responsibility for these facilities.
The centres, many of which have been incorporated into their host organisations, are still in operation.