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Nanotechnology: Will it drive a new innovation economy for the US?
Date:3/3/2009

WASHINGTON The current economic downturn highlights the importance and challenges of building a new 21st century "innovation economy" for America. To move beyond the current crisis, we need to retain and create advanced manufacturing and knowledge-intensive jobs, invest in "green" science and engineering research, and ensure the competitiveness of U.S. technology based industries and workers.

Nanotechnologywhich some scientists and business leaders hail as ushering in the next technology-driven Industrial Revolutionpromises to be one of the critical foundations for this new innovation economy. Nanotechnology is still early in its development cycle, although a variety of nano-enabled products are already on the world market in clothing, cosmetics, washing machines, and sports equipment. Numerous novel nanotechnology applications with more radical capabilities and implications are foreseen across the economy, including in aerospace, construction, electronics, environment, medicine, and security.

Congress established the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) to coordinate substantial increases in federally-funded nanotechnology research and infrastructure. Federal investments have been directed mainly to support nanotechnology research centers and projects, with some resources also allocated to education, training, and consideration of environmental, health, and societal implications. Several U.S. states have launched programs to foster nanotechnology development. The new Obama administration is set to further expand America's nanotechnology efforts, with additional federal R&D investment, including in the energy sector. Governments in Europe, China, Japan, and other countries have also greatly expanded their investments in nanotechnology R&D.

Yet, while hopes are high for nanotechnology, what is actually happening on the ground in terms of nanotechnology research and commercialization? In which regions and countries is nanotechnol
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Contact: Colin Finan
colin.finan@wilsoncenter.org
202-691-4321
Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies
Source:Eurekalert

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