Here’s an interesting snippet from an FT report about a forthcoming report by the UK Knowledge Transfer Network on nanotechnologies
The report found that UK investment in nanotechnology was low. Per capita public funding was $1.96 (£1.20) in 2008, compared with $5.06 for the US and $6.07 for Germany.
As we all know, getting reliable funding numbers is very tricky, and the recent devaluation of the pound against the Euro will have distorted numbers by 20-30%, but it does seem from this that the UK is losing its way in nanotechnology.
Perhaps a more reliable indicator of progress would be the number of new companies turning up, but unfortunately every UK Nanotech event seems to draw the same crowd. Some of them are great companies and good friends, but it does seem to qualitatively indicate a degree of stagnation, at least among what would be classed as ‘nanotech companies.’
This mirrors, to a large extent, the picture worldwide. The last few years have seen a shift from nanotechnology being used as a reason to found a company to it becoming just another piece of the toolkit. As a result the number of companies calling themselves ‘nano’ has not really increased even as the penetration of the technology has.
Getting rid of the obsession with a ‘nanotechnology industry’ would help get a real sense of the impact of nanotechnologies.