Posted: June 17, 2009

Philippines launches 10-year nanotechnology roadmap

(Nanowerk News) The Philippines revealed on Wednesday its 10-year strategy to create a commercially viable industry using nanotechnology.
Nanotechnology is an advanced form of scientific research on atoms and molecules. Products in this research can be applied to new types of metals, energy conservation, miniaturization of electronic devices, resistant materials and biomedical applications.
The Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Advanced Science and Technology Research and Development Council (DOST-PCASTRD) made this announcement as part of an effort to bolster economic development in the country.
The PCASTRD’s nanotechnology strategic roadmap will cover at least six industrial sectors, including the semiconductor, information technology, energy, agriculture, medicine and environment protection.
The roadmap indicates that funding will be provided to several nanotechnology projects, which intend to benefit identified industrial sectors.
PCASTRD said that over a dozen scientists from different fields are now involved in the selection of the projects that would be funded.
The group would be led by Dr. Fabian Dayrit, chairman of PCASTRD’s Technical Panel on Nanotechnology.
Dayrit, who is also the dean for the Ateneo De Manila University School of Science and Engineering, said the DOST is looking at a budget of P2.5 billion for the next 10 years, starting in 2009.
An initial P60 million is being allocated for the first batch of projects. The amount could ramp up in the coming years as more projects are evaluated and approved.
Because of the vast applications of nanotechnology, Dayrit said the PCASTRD will tap other groups of scientists and engineers from specific fields.
He added that the projects evaluated for funding must have direct benefits to the Philippines.
“We’ve identified several national issues that have to be addressed and these should be the main focus of nanotechnology development,” Dayrit said.
According to the roadmap, priority areas are food packaging, nanodevice fabrication, environmental sensors and environmental treatment, corrosion resistant ceramics, water purification and in vitro diagnostics in healthcare.
Dayrit noted that the agency is also open to partnerships with the private sector since it would also benefit from the results of the projects.
Because of the advanced state of the nanotechnology, an education drive is also included in the 10-year plan.
The PCASTRD is looking to make nanotechnology part of the curriculum in all science and engineering courses to introduce students to the topic and prepare them for further involvement in nanotechnology.
The agency will also be identifying laboratories that have the tools to be used for certain projects. The laboratories would also be accredited by international organizations.
“We also want to spur interests among people that we have the capacity to do great things with nanotechnology,” Dayrit added.
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