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Posted: Jul 11, 2012
Nanotechnology program transforms knowledge into GDP
(Nanowerk News) Sometimes it is difficult to understand the positive impact that the generation of knowledge around nanosciences has on the economy. But it is very simple when there is an opportunity to talk to Antonio Porro, coordinator of the Tecnalia Nano Programme. Porro, one of the architects who devised the reorganization of the specialised nanotechnology team of the Basque technology corporation, explains with patience, enthusiasm and precision that the main criterion which has guided them in this mission has been to create "business opportunities for companies”. How? “Transforming knowledge into GDP”.
Tecnalia's sum of nanoscience and nanotechnology abilities has resulted in a team distributed throughout various headquarters with over 100 specialised people, more than a third of which are doctors in disciplines like chemistry, physics and biology.
Tecnalia has internalized that the European Union has pointed out that the nano world is one of the key facilitating technologies for economic transformation. That is why it has reorganized its nanotechnology activities into five divisions dedicated specifically to the development of solutions for determined sectors: sustainable construction; energy and the environment; industry and transport; health; and communication and information technologies.
The objective of this sectorial division, in addition to creating synergies and increasing coordination, is to “always have the vision set on the market orientation of our solutions”. Nevertheless, Tecnalia has also identified four thematic areas of interest (nanomaterials, nanophotonics, multiscale computational simulation and safety). The crossroads of these four thematic areas with the five sectorial divisions serves the Tecnalia Nano Programme to define the most adequate team and use resources in the most efficient manner. “This way we respond with agility to obtain new knowledge and incorporate it in the best and quickest way possible”, notes Porro.
“Tecnalia has incorporated the logic of open innovation to its way of working. Alliances and cooperation are key to the vision which has directs the Nano Programme configuration”, assures Porro. One of the most important alliances is the one which unites them with the Centro de Investigación Cooperativa CIC nanoGUNE, a bond which provides Tecnalia direct contact with the most current frontier research in the nanoscience field. According to Antonio Porro, “our implication with the CIC is so important that we are even implicated with their governing bodies”.
The Nano Programme also maintains bonds of association with the Unidad Asociada de Materiales Nanoestructurados y Eco-eficientes of the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC) and entities like Euskampus, the campus of Excellence of the UPV/EHU, in addition to maintaining fluid contact with organizations like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) or the Universidad de California Berkeley.
Intimate contact with research, key in such a technological field such as nanotechnologies, is not limited to contact with academic and research entities. The Nano Programme’s own internal work has culminated with the registration of 10 patent families and the supervision of 13 doctoral theses by Tecnalia professionals.
Knowledge to create business opportunities is the slogan of Tecnalia's Nano Programme. This is very clear to Antonio Porro and summarizes it with: “Our objective is the creation of nanotechnology applications with the objective to generate wealth and well-being”.