Researchers are busy trying to harness nanotechnology for clean water. But when can we expect results? What are the risks? And how can nano-based solutions be delivered to the millions lacking access to safe water in developing countries?
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The Cambridge Nanoscience Centre, home to Cambridge University's Nanoscience group, conducts research on nanowires and nanotubes, dielectrophoresis and nanometre-scale characterisation of electrical properties of conducting polymers.
Its website links to ongoing projects as well as upcoming and past seminars on topics including nanocrystals, self assembly of discrete structures and catalysis by nanogold. The website also hosts an image gallery of nanoscale pictures.
The CNS, based at Arizona State University in the United States, conducts research on the societal implications of nanotechnologies and engages policymakers and businesses in dialogue on these.
The centre publishes books, articles, presentations and reports on key topics and hosts a network of researchers developing and testing new processes of 'anticipatory governance' to understand and govern rapidly emerging areas of nanotechnology.
The CNS-UCSB serves as a network hub for researchers and educators working on the societal issues of nanotechnologies, including historical contexts, innovation processes and risk perception. It provides access to its research results, scientific papers, meeting reports, policy documents and presentations on a range of topics including water.
The centre publishes news on upcoming events and links to other US organisations working on nanotechnology.
The Desert Research Institute is based in Nevada in the United States. Its principal research areas include atmosphere, water and land management – in the United States and in the developing world. The institute is engaged in a project to bring clean water and sanitation to communities in Ghana, Mali and Niger through the West Africa Water Initiative (WAWI). WAWI aims to do this before 2008.
IBSA, a joint project of the departments of science and technology in Brazil, India and South Africa, promotes research collaborations between scientists working on applications of nanotechnology. Its priority fields of research include health, water treatment and agriculture. India leads its flagship project on water purification.
IBSA publishes information on participating scientists from all three countries, ongoing projects, key global events and activities, and fellowships and job openings.