In 2003, when the Wallonia government launched the "Nanotechnology" program to support research projects in that field, several researchers made the following observations:
There was therefore a need to set up a structure that would favour stronger interactions between the "actors" in the "nano-field". This structure should also allow the sharing of equipment facilities and improve the overall knowledge as well as technology transfer. This led several laboratories from the major universities of Wallonia and Brussel to create a network for nanotechnologies and nanosciences.
In 2009, the NanoWal network got a legal statute and became a non-profit organisation (ASBL).