As predicted by Richard Jones, nanotechnology made it onto Radio 4’s Today program this morning as a result of a conference at the Houses of Parliament looking at whether “Britain is leading the way” in nanotech.
The answer is of course no, but of more importance is what to do about it. When Sir Harry Kroto was asked “what should the government do?” this morning, the answer was rather unclear.
In common with the hand wringing in Brussels, much of the solution to any of the perceived problems in nanotechnology are little different from those faced by any early stage technology – the combined lack of government enthusiasm for science, and an education system that is failing to produce scientists and engineers in anything like the numbers required.
What is not needed is more government meddling in attempts to spin out companies from universities – good companies will get funded somewhere, somehow in the end – but more investment in basic science, and creating the conditions for scientific innovation.