North Rhine-Westphalia’s leading role in the fields of nanotechnology and materials science is clearly demonstrated at the biennially organised NRW Nano Conference, the most important nanotechnology event in Germany. The focus of the last event, which took place in Dortmund from 21-22 November 2018, was extended from nanotechnology to the topic of “Innovations in Materials and Applications” taking into account current developments in industry and science. International keynotes and plenary talks provided insight into cutting edge technologies and future trends. Furthermore, almost fifty institutes and companies presented their innovative services and products at the accompanying exhibition.

Thus, the conference provided an ideal platform for informing experts as well as the interested public about the objectives and activities of the project NMP-REG. The project aims to improve the existing framework conditions for innovation processes based on nanotechnology, advanced materials, and production technology. At present, the project partners develop regional Action Plans that will be implemented in the partner regions in the time period from April 2019 to March 2021. As an example, the Action Plan for North Rhine-Westphalia addresses measures for better entrepreneurial support in the field of Key Enabling Technologies (KET) including actions to better connect KET startups with companies and capital investors as well as to stimulate potential company founders.

For the first time, a startup session was organised during the conference, giving selected KET startups from North Rhine-Westphalia the opportunity to inform about their business cases in front of investors, corporates, innovation professionals and young academics. NMP-REG was involved in the preparation of the session and will keep in touch with the selected startups for further support.