Disrupting Water Treatment Technology – Equal Parts Economics and Technology

I’ve seen lots of water treatment technologies over the last fifteen years consisting of almost every conceivable variant of nanotechnology, from electrospun nanofibers to graphene. Some of them are great, but many won’t succeed, for a simple reason that is obvious to anyone outside the science community. Hardly a week goes by without some new form of graphene being promoted as …

The Killer App For Graphene – Cocktails

graphene and cocktails at grafene

It is impossible to get office space in Manchester at the moment as the place is choked with graphene spin outs from the university. There is even a new restaurant opening in the city, Grafene which is “inspired by the world’s first 2D material Graphene, first isolated at Manchester University and the focus of global scientific and research investment.” I’m …

Why Academics Don’t Innovate

Why Academics Don't Innovate

The recent parliamentary inquiry into graphene highlighted that the University of Manchester did not fully appreciate the significance of the work on graphene that subsequently won a Nobel Prize, but is the academic publishing system to blame? A recent study by the US National Bureau of Economic Research , “Bias against Novelty in Science: A Cautionary Tale for Users of Bibliometrics Indicators,” reports that …

2D Materials at the Tipping Point in 2016 – World Economic Forum

graphene northern powerhouse

WEF Top 10 Emerging Technologies The World Economic Forum (WEF) released its list of the Top Ten Emerging Technologies for 2016 today.  One of the criteria was the likelihood that 2016 represents a tipping point in the deployment of each technology. So the list includes some technologies that have been known for a number of years, but are only now …

How Much Science Hype is Acceptable?

Flavor-Flav-Clock

Discussing the subject of hype on the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Nanotechnology a valid question was raised. Is technology hype justified and how much is acceptable? The tech industry is great at hype. There is always plenty of hype surrounding the latest improvements from Siri to Apple Maps to the latest version of Microsoft Word, and it could be argued that …

Accelerating Graphene Innovation in Madrid

overhead-speaker

I’ve always had a soft spot for the Fundación Ramón Areces in Madrid who are a great supporter of Spanish science. In 1997 they invited me to give a talk about micro- and nanotechnology which was one of my earliest public speaking engagements. It was also memorable for the sweeping gesture I gave to illustrate a point which also scattered my …

Wearables, Textiles and 2D Materials, a $70 Billion Opportunity

Spinning Room

There has been a lot of talk about wearable technologies over the past couple of years, with much of the initial enthusiasm around the Apple Watch and Fitbit’s $4.1 billion IPO  fizzling out as the industry struggles to move beyond fitness trackers and so called smart watches which, despite the hype are still essentially a cut down version of a …

The Nanotechnology Opportunity Report (and Millipedes)

IBM Millipede nanotechnology

The seminal work on nanotechnology, the Nanotechnology Opportunity report is finally available for free. While it was credited with launching the nanotechnology industry and a thousand start ups it used to cost a lot of money, but now it doesn’t and you can download it here. One feature which stands out from 2003 is the futility of trying to calculate …

Are UK SME’s Priced Out Of Exploiting Graphene?

UK Science Funding

Harvard Business Review published an article last week on How Innovative Companies Get Their Best Ideas from Academic Research, something that was tacked by the UK Parliament’s Science & Technology Committee on Tuesday. As the HBR article points out but “the most important thing driving America’s success has been its unparalleled scientific leadership.” While the Committee was very interested in the relationship between …

UK Graphene Policy: More Fawlty Towers Than Fraunhofer Institutes?

Fawlty-Towers-Insomnia-Cured-Here

The Sunday Times follows up its recent articles with a piece headlined “Academics accused of failing to protect wonder material” based on evidence submitted to the parliamentary inquiry. It’s hard to second guess what went on at Manchester, and the reasons for not protecting graphene may have ranged from not wanting to block its applications to the low likelihood of getting …