Nanotechnology shows little return for US$18bn public funding

30 January 2006

London, UK. Nanotechnology has had very limited commercial impact despite US$18 billion of public funding since 1997, according to a recently released report by Cientifica, an independent supplier of nanotechnology research and technology information.

The report "Where Has My Money Gone" was compiled from interviews with government funding agencies and researchers around the world. It reveals that many of them have only just begun working on nanotechnologies while government funding is harder to get at than imagined. The report reveals that:

  • Global government spending on nanotechnologies totalled US$4.8 billion in 2005.
  • Japan spends three times as much as a proportion of its gross domestic product as the United States.
  • Government nanotechnology funding takes an average of two to three years before it even reaches the lab.
  • Governments have deep pockets but short arms when it comes to handing out research funds.
  • Much government spending is concentrated on research areas with little immediate commercial impact.
  • The true impact of nanotechnology will only start to be felt from 2007 onwards.

Commenting on the findings, Cientifica CEO Tim Harper said "Only by talking to the people at the coal face of nanotechnology, the research labs, can you get a real idea of what nanotechnology is all about. These people speak a very different language from that of Wall Street, and the story that emerges is very different from the hype and over expectation that we have come to associate with nanotechnology."

The report is available from 

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