The Institute of Nanoscience of Aragon (INA) is an interdisciplinary research institute located in the “Campus Río Ebro” at the University of Zaragoza (Spain). The Institute was founded in 2003 by the Decree 68/2003 of the Government of Aragon, as the request of the University of Zaragoza.
INA is dedicated to R&D in nanoscience and nanotechnology. Its activities are based on manufacturing and processing micro and nanoscaled structures (10-6 m and 10-9 m respectively) and studying their applications, in collaboration with companies and technological institutes from different areas and countries.
Nowadays, the Institute has high-level experts of different disciplines: Physics, Chemistry, Engineering, Biochemistry and Medicine, which allows the Institute to perform a multidisciplinary research using all branches of knowledge to address nanoscience.
Almost 140 researchers (67PhDs and 18 qualified technicians) work at INA. In addition, there is a Transfer and Promotion Office that supports the R&D activity. The goal of this office is to forge links between companies and the Institute.
At present, INA has become an international center for research due to the advanced technological infrastructure of its facilities and laboratories equipped with latest-generation devices:
- Transmission Electron Microscopy (“Titan”)
- Scanning Probe Microscopy
- DUAL BEAM
- Microstructural Characterisation and Spectroscopy
- Tecnai F30
- Thin film growth
- Local probe microscopy
- Electron microscopy
- Biomedical applications
- Synthesis and fuctionalization of nanosystems
- Characterization of nanostructures
Both the high level of facilities and, especially, the acquisition of the Transmission Electron Microscopy (“Titan”) in 2009 has enabled the Institute of Nanoscience of Aragon to be selected by the European Union to lead the Trans-Pyrenees Action on Advanced Infrastructures for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology of the SUDOE Región (TRAIN2) in the Iberian Peninsula and Southern France, which brings together 20 leading research centers.
The quick success of the INA is being possible thanks to the collaboration already existing with other research institutes, such as the Aragon Institute for Materials Science, as well as with other University Departments and Zaragoza’s Clinic Hospital, as it has driven its vast experience in the different research areas towards a new multidisciplinary research model.
Mission and Vision
The mission of the Institute of Nanoscience of Aragon is to develop its three research areas (Nanobiomedicine, Nanomaterials and Physics of nanosystems) through training and cutting edge facilities that enable its researchers the development of national and international projects in these areas.
The vision of the INA is to establish the Institute as an international research center of excellence in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology through the attraction and retention of top talent researchers, technology transfer, identification and promotion of entrepreneurial opportunities, and development of new high tech companies.
Nanotechnology is a cross-cutting science and has broad possibilities in very different sectors: health sector (pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, biomedicine), environmental sector, transportation both aerospace and automotive, energy, textile, construction, packaging, agro-food, mechanical, electronics and new materials.
Spin-off and patents
Since its foundation, the Institute of Nanoscience of Aragon is boosting the applied research in order to drive commercialization of new nanoscience discoveries through technology transfer and the creation of new spin-off companies.
Since 2003 the INA has licensed 21 patents (5-Extension PCT in Europe, 1-Extension United States, 7 patents licensed to companies and 2-exploitation).
This success can be explained by the specific Transfer and Promotion Office for technology promotion of regional, national and European projects that INA has implemented.
The office’s efforts have made possible that the INA currently has relationships with more than 40 SMEs and multinational companies and with technology centers both nationally and internationally.
It can be stressed that the department has two members of its staff dedicated exclusively to the promotion of technology, being the bridge that connects the Institute to the companies and centers.
Collaboration in platforms and networks
The INA is member of different platforms and multiple networks of specialized centers such as the Nanolithography Network, Nanospain Platform, European Technology Platform Nanobiomedicine, Ibernam (Iber Red in Micro and Nano technologies), and textile cluster research.
In addition, the Institute is a founding member of the Tecnoebro network which is the platform of the major research centers in Aragon. It provides technology services for companies from all sectors.
Furthermore, INA is the coordinating institution of Nanoaracat which is a framework cooperation agreement between the regions of Aragon and Catalonia, funded by the Government of Aragón and the Government of Catalonia, in order to promote and coordinate joint actions in R&D in the field of nanoscience and nanotechnology among 20 research centers.