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Posted: Jan 03, 2012
Nanotechnology in the Dutch top industry sectors
(Nanowerk News) A new nanotechnology roadmap for the Dutch industry sectors has been published: "Nanotechnology in the topsectors".
As foundation for this document the Strategic Research Agenda of the Netherlands Nano Initiative (SRA-NNI) was used. By combining input of many industrial and academic parties, this SRA was updated to the new roadmap which is written from the perspective of knowledge and innovation opportunities.
The roadmap consist of two parts. The first is a supplementary memoranda which highlights the importance of nanotechnology within the different topsectors. The second part of the roadmap looks with more focus on specific content at the opportunities for nanotechnology. In this part, the areas which, for the Netherlands, could lead to important developments in the area of knowledge, innovation, and commercialisation are also explicitly mentioned.
Nanotechnology plays an important role in the Dutch innovation landscape. The
Netherlands has invested heavily in nanotechnology over the last ten years. Even at an
early stage the Netherlands adopted a pro-active stance in relation to nanotechnology by
initiating various national programmes. As a result, it has acquired a high level of
knowledge and an excellent position in the international field of nanoscience and
nanotechnology. Despite the small size of the Netherlands, Dutch Nanotechnology
publications are very frequently cited, and in terms of filed patents on nanotechnology
the Netherlands takes seventh place globally.
Opportunities for the Netherlands in the different areas of nanoscience and technology
are focus on several generic and application areas. Generic research themes in the field
of nanotechnology important for the Netherlands are nanoelectronics nanomaterial
science, sensors and actuators, nanofabrication and bionanotechnology. The most
important application areas are life sciences, food & nutrition, energy, and water.
Nanotechnology can help solve societal challenges such as the ageing population, climate
change, food for a growing population and clean water.
Within the nine defined top sectors, nanotechnology is mainly positioned in the 'High
Tech Systems & Materials' (HTSM) top sector. Due to the multidisciplinary character of
nanotechnology, the top sectors 'Agro-Food', 'Energy', 'Life-Sciences', 'Chemistry' and
'Water' are of interest as well. The cross connections with other top sectors gives the
social embedding and contribution to the societal challenges. In table 3 the cross
connections between the several top sectors are given for the presented items and
priorities in this roadmap.
Competitive position of Dutch Industry
Nanotechnology is important to Dutch industry. At least 13 of the top 20 companies
intensely involved in R&D perform research in the field of nanotechnology. Furthermore,
the number of companies actively engaged in the nanotechnology sector is growing.
The high tech systems sector, including Philips, NXP (semiconducting components), ASML
(equipment for lithography), ASM International N.V. (leading supplier of semiconductor
process equipment) and FEI (high-resolution microscopy) are the biggest industrial
players. In addition, DSM and Akzo Nobel are active on the market of nanomaterials and
coatings. In addition to these companies, the role of the Holst Centre, interacting
between industry and academia, have to be mentioned.
The number of nano-related projects in industry is growing fast by approximately 10%
per year (2007-2010 indication Agentschap NL). Also, since 1998 MESA+ (the
nanotechnology institute in Twente) alone has to date over 45 spin-offs in the domain of
nanotechnology. Examples of starters (including the spin-offs of knowledge institutes)
are Mapper Lithography (semi-conductor equipment), Micronit Microfluidics ('lab-on-achip
devices') and Aquamarijn and Fluxxion (nanosieves for foodprocessing), Medimate
(lithium detection in blood), LioniX (devices based on MEMs) and SolMateS (large area
functional materials and nanostructures).