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Posted: January 5, 2009

Nanotechnology in 2009 - creative destruction or credit crunch?

(Nanowerk News) Tim Harper over at Cientifica has published a thought-provoking brief white paper "Nanotechnologies In 2009: Creative Destruction or Credit Crunch?" (pdf download, 180 KB) that looks at the effects of the current financial crisis on the world of nanotechnologies.
He lists five issues which he sees as having a significant impact on nanotechnology in 2009:
  • Technology Funding – expect to see things getting worse before they get better
  • Purchases of Worthless Intellectual Property
  • Academic Funding and Spinouts
  • CleanTech
  • Nanotechnology Applications
  • Some notable quotes from the paper:
    "Given that the current liquidity crisis may last for up to two years, and most firms don’t have two years cash in the bank, I expect to see a growing number of fire sales and intellectual property disposals among most emerging technologies. Secondary investors may have a very good year buying distressed VC portfolios."
    "I expect pressure to mount for a shift from blue sky to goal-oriented research as the year progresses. While most funding programs are run on three- to five-year cycles, nanotechnology research funding will come under increasing scrutiny from funding agencies that in turn will be under pressure to develop better value for money."
    "As companies drew down mountains of cheap debt of the past decade to finance growth, 2009 will see falling share prices exacerbating to struggle to refinance existing bonds and loans. I expect to see a couple more high profile nanotechnology failures this year, probably among the large number of illiquid public companies focussing on materials."
    Source: Cientifica