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Identifying Science and Business Issues: The Case of Nanotechnology Dr. Danial Wayner, Director General National Institute for Nanotechnology, Edmonton.

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Presentation on theme: "Identifying Science and Business Issues: The Case of Nanotechnology Dr. Danial Wayner, Director General National Institute for Nanotechnology, Edmonton."— Presentation transcript:

1 Identifying Science and Business Issues: The Case of Nanotechnology Dr. Danial Wayner, Director General National Institute for Nanotechnology, Edmonton Steacie Institute for Molecular Sciences, Ottawa

2 The Case of Nanotechnology Contents Catching the nanotechnology wave Managing emerging technologies Business opportunities in nanotechnology What government can do

3 Nanoresearch vs Nanotechnology Nanoresearch research at the atomic, molecular or macromolecular levels to: –create and use structures, devices and systems that have novel properties and functions with critical length scales typically under 100 nm –provide fundamental understanding of phenomena and materials at the nanoscale in 1, 2 or 3 dimensions The Case of Nanotechnology

4 Nanoresearch vs Nanotechnology Nanotechnology useful applications of nanoscience/engineering knowledge and discoveries –integration into existing technologies –new applications based on transformational or revolutionary discoveries The Case of Nanotechnology

5 Complexity (# of nanocomponents) Length Scale (nm) > Biological Complexity Non-Bio Complexity atoms molecules macro/supra molecules self-organizing Assemblies systems networks organelle DNA protein nucleic/ amino acid tissue organ organism electronics/ photonics nano materials www Integrated Nanosystems Artificial organs/tissue Chemical information systems integrated with electronics Adaptive materials bulk materials cell The Case of Nanotechnology

6 Catching the nanotechnology wave What is the wave? –most of what we hear and see is nanoresearch –there are increasing incremental improvements to traditional technologies (e.g. nanocomposites) –some discoveries suggest discontinuities in product development, manufacturing paradigms –there is a feeling that we are on the verge of something revolutionary but it is still not well defined Hype versus Reality –the research and investment communities are fueling unreasonable expectations

7 The Case of Nanotechnology

8 Catching the nanotechnology wave How do we know it is coming? –It is underpinned by many years of research –It builds on a succession of high profile reports –It requires significant capital investment in infrastructure and capacity building –it promises economic impact on optimistic timescales The Case of Nanotechnology

9 Catching the nanotechnology wave Nanotechnology fits this description well: –It is based on many years of basic research in physics, chemistry and biology. And several major areas of nanotechnology still require substantial scientific research before commercial technologies will emerge. –there are many parallels with the biotech revolution –Future nanotech research and production facilities will require massive investments –There are an increasing number of startups even though markets are not yet clearly defined

10 The Case of Nanotechnology Catching the nanotechnology wave Trying to catch the wave is risky! Anxiety over IP, wealth generation leads to: –Taking a new technology out of a university or government lab and into a start-up company before major research problems are resolved –products without markets, markets without products –unanticipated problems in scale up, moving from prototypes to production –incomplete understanding of the value chain – low ROI –if not managed well, disillusionment/backlash (dot coms, photonics)

11 The Case of Nanotechnology Managing Technology Risk – Some Science Policy Issues National S&T priorities –defines strengths, weaknesses, opportunties, threats at a national level –provides a framework within which funding decisions may be taken (critical mass) –creates opportunity for organizational synergies Technology Clusters –regional clusters of competing and collaborating firms, associated with university and government research facilities to share the risk and the rewards –well developed receptor capacity –spin-offs when necessary but not necessarily spin-offs

12 The Case of Nanotechnology Managing Technology Risk – Some Science Policy Issues Funding –Provide long term funding of research into nanoscience in both the universities and government labs, e.g., NINT –Provide other incentives to SMEs (contracts vs grants) Outreach/education –closing the gap between science and business/investors Nano Environmental, Ethical, Economic, Legal, Social Implications (NE 3 LS) –public rejection can derail technologies (e.g. GM foods) –developing a NE 3 LS capacity at this early stage is an opportunity for Canada to establish a competitive edge in a global economy

13 NINT: Collaborative Model NINT: Building NRC/UofA Shared Nanotech Facility NRC Research Programs Industry Partnership Facility Cross- Appointments University Aligned Nanotech Research Programs Cross- Appointments $40M $20M NRC Province+UofA $12M/a The Case of Nanotechnology

14 Business opportunities in nanotechnology Short Term (less disruptive) –Nanomaterials –Nanotools –Nano-electromechanical systems Long Term (more disruptive) –Nanoelectronics/quantum computing –Bionanotechnology/personalized health care –Integrated Nanosystems/Convergent Technologies


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