Nanotechnology in the UK – You Have To Be In It To Win It

There has been plenty of discussion from all quarters about how the UK failed to grasp the significance of nanotechnology, and instead spent years fretting over heath and safety implications. Without any real nanotechnology related activity in UK industry, worrying about the potential downside is like spending all your time planning what you will do if you win the lottery. …

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What Use Is Nanotechnology?

Technology Review, besides being a great magazine edited by Jason Pontin, who I have known since the heyday of Red Herring, also puts on some great conferences. So I was excited and honoured to be invited to EmTech Spain, a two day conference in Malaga focussing on emerging technologies. Along with my World Economic Forum colleague Javier García Martínez of …

Innovation Starvation or Risk Avoidance?

While working on our report on Using Emerging Technologies to Address Global Risks, one of my favourite SciFi authors, Neal Stephenson, popped up with an essay on Innovation Starvation. It echoes Tyler Cowen‘s arguments that all the easy big stuff has been done,  and that all we have left to look forward to are incremental improvements rather than world changing …

Predicting The Future And Keeping It Bright

I spent some time in the ever fascinating city of Geneva this week for some meetings with the World Economic Forum where, as always, we are trying to figure out what to do about the world right now while trying to understand how the future will look – hopefully better than the present is the short answer! One of the …

First Contact With Nanotech Needs Sizzle?

Something was troubling me as I drove home from yesterdays Nanotechnology Innovations for High Performance Motorsport 2010 meeting, and it took me until this morning to put my finger on the niggle. While we often criticise those who over hype nanotechnology, trillion dollar markets, space elevators, curing cancer etc, many scientists are perhaps guilty of being over pragmatic about nanotech, and …

Stimulating Nanotech Innovation

One of the biggest problems facing nanoscience is moving from pottering around in a lab doing something fascinating to translational research, i.e. taking that process or material and moving it in the direction of something that may be of use to someone for reasons other than writing publications. In the early days of nanotech, with investors fired up be the …

Strategic Geopolitical Trends – From Spooks to Nanotech

The UK Ministry of Defence released its latest ‘Global Strategic Trends – Out to 2040‘ study last month, and it’s a good read (even for non spooks) covering everything from terrorism to to climate change and their impact on geopolitics. The report identifies four key issues, Globalisation, Climate Change, Global Inequality & Innovation which will dominate the next thirty years. The …

Where Did All Our Nanotech Companies Go?

My colleague Dexter Johnson (aka the Nanoclast) highlights a forthcoming report about the decline in the number of Australian nanotech companies, but it’s hardly surprising. Before anyone heralds the death of anything consider this: The global economy has resulted in a reduction of the number of companies in just about every sector of the economy. High streets where a third …