Nanotechnology is emerging worldwide as a key enabling technology that will impact significantly on the majority of sectors comprising the Irish economy, according to Dr Edward Walsh, chairman of the Irish Council for Science, Technology and Innovation, or ICSTI.

Launching its statement on nanotechnology today, the organisation said that nanomaterials and devices presented enterprises with opportunities to enhance their competitiveness by developing new and improved products and processes, also by improving the performance or reducing the cost of existing products and processes.

The ICSTI statement addresses Ireland's current capabilities in the field of nanotechnology, maps out specific areas of opportunity for the Irish economy and presents a strategy for the promotion, development and commercialisation of nanotechnology in Ireland.

Walsh said: "Small and large industries, both indigenous and overseas, have identified nanotechnology opportunities and are now seeking to exploit them. It is estimated that the potential value of nanotechnology enabled products and processes exported by Irish enterprises will exceed €13 billion by 2010, which is more than 10% of the value of current exports."