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Institut Català de Nanociència i Nanotecnologia (ICN2)

The Institut Català de Nanociència i Nanotecnologia (ICN2 - Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology) is a renowned research centre. Its research lines focus on the newly discovered physical and chemical properties that arise from the fascinating behaviour of matter at the nanoscale. The patrons of ICN2 are the Government of Catalonia (Generalitat), the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), and the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB).

The Institute promotes collaboration among scientists from diverse backgrounds (physics, chemistry, biology, and engineering) to develop basic and applied research, always seeking interactions with local and global industry. ICN2 also trains researchers in nanotechnology, develops numerous activities to facilitate the uptake of nanotechnology by industry, and promotes networking among scientists, engineers, technicians, business people, society, and policy makers.

Recent discoveries in nanoscience may lead to a change of paradigm in important areas such as medicine, energy, or microelectronics. The frontier research developed at ICN2 has enormous potential to change everyday life. For this reason, the Institute is deeply involved in strategic international initiatives, for example ICN2 is one of the nine original promoters of the European Union´s Graphene Flagship projects.


ICN2 was accredited in 2014 as a Severo Ochoa Centre of Excellence.

The Severo Ochoa Program, sponsored by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, aims to identify and support Spanish research centres that are among the world's best in their specialty. This award is the highest recognition of centres of excellence in Spain, and it is granted after international scientific committees carry out a rigorous evaluation of project proposals submitted by Spanish research centres.
Each of the accredited centres will receive one million euros per year over the next four years to strengthen their research. Five centres were accredited in 2014, and only 18 centres in total enjoy today this honour after three editions of the program.

The ICN2 proposal for this call focused on the development of nanoscale devices that are effective and marketable. Based on scientific advances in the development of materials, nanofabrication, characterisation, and theoretical simulation, practical applications will be developed in three main areas:

  • Biosystems (e.g. sensors, devices for selective drug delivery, nanomedicine, environmental applications)
  • Energy (e.g. solar cells, batteries and supercapacitors, thermoelectric devices)
  • Information technology and telecommunications (e.g. miniaturisation, applications of physical phenomena that are unique to nanoscale materials)

Our mission

The Mission of ICN2 is to achieve scientific and technological excellence at an international level in nanoscience and nanotechnology, and to facilitate the adoption and integration of nanotechnologies into society and industry.

Nanotechnology is a young area of research and development. Its scientific interest is based on the understanding of new phenomena and in the discovery of new properties of materials at the nanoscale, focusing on the control of these properties and their potential application to virtually all sectors of society. ICN2 plays an active role in developing scientific knowledge, bringing nanotechnology closer to the market, and disseminating nanoscience to a broad audience.