Nanotech is not small

OECD Observer

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Nanotechnology R&D continues to grow in priority on national science agendas in OECD countries, both in terms of public and private funding. The United States, Europe and Japan each spend between US$500 million and $1 billion a year on nanotechnology R&D.

In 2003, the United States passed the 21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act, authorising $3.7 billion in federal subsidies for three years beginning in 2005, for projects supported by the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI), a federal R&D programme established in 2001. Government funding for the NNI itself is projected to increase to $886 million for 2005, to constitute roughly 3% of overall US government R&D expenditure.

Japanese and western European programmes combine government support with academic and private-sector R&D activities. In 2003, Japan spent about $800 million, while western European government spending (the European Union plus Switzerland) on nanotechnology R&D totalled about $650 million. And the European Commission recently launched a €24 million project called NanoCMOS to further semiconductor studies.

Similar advances have been made in Korea, with a $2 billion Nanotechnology Development Programme launched in 2003, and in Canada, with the establishment of the National Institute for Nanotechnology. Significant nanotechnology programmes also exist in Mexico, Russia, Ukraine, China, Chinese Taipei and Singapore.

The US National Science Foundation projects that worldwide annual industrial production in the nanotechnology sectors will reach over $1 trillion by 2015.

©OECD Observer No 243, May 2004

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