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Posted: April 12, 2007
Assessing a return on investment in nanotechnology proves difficult
(Nanowerk News) An article in today's Chemical & Engineering News, titled What Are We Getting For The Money?, takes a critical look at the return on investment of the approx. $1.4 billion in annual nanotechnology spending by U.S. government agencies.
Quotes from the article:
"When you think about return on investment, you can pretty easily figure out what the investment part is because those numbers are somewhat fixed and visible," explains Edward K. Moran, director of product innovation at the professional services firm Deloitte & Touche USA. Moran served on a National Academies committee that published the first triennial review of NNI in September 2006.
Figuring out the return, Moran says, is where the thinking "starts to get fuzzy." The review committee was challenged from the beginning by having to parse out what is and isn't nanotech-related spending and by conflicting definitions of nanotechnology itself. Moran and the rest of the committee were struck by how few metrics have been put in place and how little data is being collected. Without these, he says, there's no way to gauge progress.