They’re holding a conference right now (Nov. 29 & 30, 2010) in Belgium about space technology and scientific areas such as nanotechnology, not usually directly associated with space, that might be useful. From the Nov. 29, 2010 news item on Nanowerk,
Dr. Alberto Tobias from the European Space Agency (ESA) commented: “Space shares the technology and industrial base with other sectors and open innovation is the rule. In some domains technology advances faster in terrestrial sectors and if space enters the game, it can become a lead user. Bringing the two domains together offers many benefits: better products and lower costs for space; and an increased innovation for terrestrial industries, driven by space research.”
TECHBREAK combines a forward view of space sciences with the forward view of technology coming from non-space areas. It will be using a classification of non-space disciplines under the broad headings of ‘Key Enabling Technologies’ which were identified in 2009 by the European Commission as being likely to be the driving forces behind future European developments. During the launching conference, participants will present the different problems, their work, goals and limitations, and brainstorm and answer related targeted discussions. Participants to the conference will then attempt to match key enabling technologies from both space and non-space and identify gaps and to define if necessary the contents of further specialised workshops in support of this activity.
You can read more about the TECHBREAK conference here. (I gather this initiative is being funded by the European Science Foundation.)