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Posted: Dec 04, 2013

Closing the gap: The impact of nanotechnologies on the global divide

(Nanowerk News) Nanotechnologies are capable of introducing promising applications that could impact upon our daily lives; it is through the visualisation and control of matter at the scale of a billionth of a metre that allows nanotechnologies to modify and enhance the properties of products across all industry sectors. Even though nanotechnologies have immense potential, they are only in their infancy and have yet to reach full maturity. When considering the changes they could bring, it must be asked: are nanotechnologies going to reduce the rich-poor divide, or will they have the opposite effect?
Closing the Gap: The Impact of Nanotechnologies on the Global Divide
In light of debates that make nanotechnologies responsible for a further widening of the aforementioned divide, the Nanotechnology Industries Association (NIA) has published a report analysing this Nano-Gap, or Nano-Divide, by examining the pros and cons of nanotechnologies and their impact global development and the on-going fight against poverty.

Entitled "Closing the Gap: The Impact of Nanotechnologies on the Global Divide" (pdf), this report looks at how nanotechnology-based inventions and their potential applications could be implemented in developing counties, and whether they could benefit the most underprivileged populations. Obstacles and problematic issues that could arise are also scrutinised, with the following more fully addressed:

  • – Will nanotechnologies reach the populations they wish to assist?
  • – What impact could they have on world trade and already weak economies?
  • – What of the unprecedented nature and uncertainties surrounding the risks of nanotechnology?
  • – Will inventors from the developing world have to circumvent challenging intellectual property rules in order to make full use of the technology?
  • This subsequently leads the report into looking at the possible ways forward for the fair development of nanotechnologies. Finally, the report looks at the possibilities for scientists and entrepreneurs from low- and middle-income countries to scale-up the benefits for their countries with the help of international cooperation and global dialogue.
    Source: Nanotechnology Industries Association
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