What are Key Enabling Technologies (KETs)?

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Nanotechnologies can create materials and devices on a minuscule scale – 80,000 times smaller than a human hair. Nanotechnologies are touching every aspect of human life: electronics, medicines, everyday products, our cars and our homes. Research in this area will lead to new products and services developed by the industry, capable of enhancing human health while conserving resources and protecting the environment. [1]

Micro- and nanoelectronics

Micro- and nanoelectronics, including semiconductors, are essential for all goods and services which need intelligent control in sectors as diverse as automotive and transportation, aeronautics and space. Smart industrial control systems permit more efficient management of electricity generation, storage, transport and consumption through intelligent electrical grids and devices. [2]


Photonics is a multidisciplinary domain dealing with light, encompassing its generation, detection and management. Among other things it provides the technological basis for the economical conversion of sunlight to electricity which is important for the production of renewable energy, and a variety of electronic components and equipment such as photodiodes, LEDs and lasers. [3]

Advanced Materials

Advanced materials can introduce new functionalities and improved properties, while adding value to existing products and processes, in a sustainable approach. Research can start from the material itself (e.g. biomaterials), from the industrial sector (e.g. metallurgy) or from their applications (e.g. energy, health, transport). Research in this area responds to people’s needs and concerns for integrated solutions that combine energy, natural resources and human health. [4]

Advanced Manufacturing Technologies

In the supply chain of KETs, advanced manufacturing systems are important to produce high value marketable knowledge-based goods and the related services (e.g. modern robotics). This is especially relevant in capital intensive industries with complex assembly methods such as the production and assembly of modern aircraft which involves the whole spectrum of manufacturing technologies from the simulation and programming of robotic assembly lines to reducing energy and materials consumption. [5]

Industrial Biotechnology

Biotechnology applies scientific and engineering principles on living organisms. On one hand, it serves to improve industrial processes and on the other hand, it allows the competitive, sustainable and innovative production of materials, chemicals and fuels. In this way, biotechnology supports European industries with its scientific, technological and innovation base. [6]