A rather depressingly long list of reasons for Europe’s failure to commercialise nanotechnology appears in a Cordis report on the latest EuroNanoForum.
- technological issues (this is still a very new field of research)
- regulations, or uncertainty as to whether a new regulation is imminent
- unease among the general public
- a lack of skilled personnel
- insufficient intellectual property protection
- hesitation from insurance companies,
- lack of infrastructure
- lack of industrial innovation,
- no effective way of addressing societal concerns
- a failure in some countries to recognise qualifications awarded in others
- insufficient researcher mobility between countries and sectors
Now, unless I’m mistaken, the European Commission has been funding nanoscience for the past ten years with a fair degree of success. All of the issues trotted out here apply across the continent and across all areas of technology. While the Commission can carry on increasing funding for nanoscience, these other issues need to be addressed at the European level.
The total failure of the Lisbon declaration to make Europe the world’s most dynamic and knowledge enabled economy by 2010 is perhaps most depressing, illustrating a total failure to enhance and support industrial innovation. If this issue is not taken seriously, then the prediction (a misquotation I hope!) by Thomas Rachel, State Secretary from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, that the market for nanotechnology products will be worth €1 billion in 2015 may be true, at least in Europe.
For more on this, you can download our free analysis of nanotechnology spending and commercialisation “Where Has My Money Gone?“