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Posted: October 15, 2008
Nanotechnology experts meet to discuss the future of nanotechnology and its place in society
(Nanowerk News) The Nanotechnology Knowledge Transfer Network (NanoKTN), one of the UK’s primary knowledge-based networks for Micro and Nanotechnologies, held its first UK NanoFinance event on Thursday 25th September at the Institute of Directors in London. The one-day seminar and exhibition addressed the current nanotechnology business climate which confirmed the importance of nanotechnology in society today, and suggested that by the year 2015, $3.1trillion worth of products will be using nanotechnology in some way across the globe.
NanoFinance discussed the importance of nanotechnology and it was noted that as of 2007, $147billion worth of products make use of nanotechnology in some way. Industry analysts Lux Research predicted that by the year 2015, $3.1trillion worth of products will be using nanotechnology across the value chain which is comprised of nanomaterials, nanointermediates and nano-enabled final products. This, combined with the increase in investment prior to 2007, demonstrates the long term potential of nanotechnology, however in 2007, it appears that some consolidation of the market has appeared with the number and value of global nanotechnology deals falling for the first time, indicating that the very first pioneering nano-companies have struggled to find good business models to grow.
On the optimistic side, 2007 has seen an increase in diversification and maturity in the applications of nanotechnology. For the first time in the nanotechnology market, Energy and Environment became the area with most investment support, superseding Healthcare and Life Sciences, which previously had always come out on top. The Energy and Environment sector took over 50% of all deals and investments, despite it having a return on investment considerably less than most other sectors reflecting the general trend towards investment of green technologies.
Michael Holman, Research Director at Lux Research, delivered the opening presentation at NanoFinance, entitled State of the Market in 2008. Holman’s presentation looked at the sceptic mood surrounding the nanotechnology market and set out to prove it is both unnecessary and unjustified.
“Because some early overhyped technologies and companies have disappointed, there’s been a nano-backlash among some investors and technologist. The cynicism however, is not justified, given nanotechnology’s strong fundamentals. Investments in nanotechnology continue to grow, particularly from large corporations, and the value of products containing nanotech innovation grew to $147 billion in 2008. However, nanotech’s impact has been broad and diverse, rather than concentrated in a few blockbuster products, meaning that companies and investors need to choose their efforts carefully to profit,” explains Michael Holman.
“The UK nanotechnology market needs events like NanoFinance to enable technology innovators to connect with those who have an interest in funding this market, and the good turnout for the event and support from a number of influential figures within the nanotechnology and finance market are evidence to this. The event enabled anyone with an interest in investment to find out about everything from pre-competitive collaborative research right through to start-up finance and everyone who attended the event found it to be of great use,” explains Dr James Johnstone, Theme Manager at the NanoKTN.
Exhibiting at the event was FP7UK, Leatherhead Food International, Oxford Innovation, the Centre for Process Innovation, the Institute of Physics and Mewburn Ellis LLP, all offering delegates a chance to learn more about the support available in the market.
As well as discussing the market trends, delegates also met to witness Dr Alec Reader, Director of the NanoKTN, and Professor Richard Leach, Principal Research Scientist at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), sign a Memorandum of Understanding between the two organisations. The agreement marked the beginning of a partnership where the NanoKTN and NPL will work together to promote nano-metrology activities. The NanoKTN and NPL will collaborate on joint events and seminars to help disseminate information on the nano-metrology field.
“This agreement strengthens the NanoKTN’s relationship with NPL. It is a pleasure to be associated with a world leading nano-metrology institute and we are looking forward to working jointly on activities,” says Dr James Johnstone, Theme Manager at the NanoKTN. “By working with the NPL we hope to increase the amount of information available to people working in this sector and to encourage more interest from other sectors.”
Established by the Technology Strategy Board, the NanoKTN is managed by Centre for Process Innovation Ltd, a leading technology development and consulting company.
The NanoKTN facilitates the transfer of knowledge and experience between industry and research, offering companies dealing in small-scale technology access to information on new processes, patents and funding as well as keeping up-to-date with industry regulation. The four broad areas that the NanoKTN focuses on are: Promoting and facilitating knowledge exchange, supporting the growth of UK capabilities, raising awareness of Nanotechnology, and providing thought leadership and input to UK policy and strategy.
About Knowledge Transfer Networks (KTNs)
KTNs (www.ktnetworks.co.uk ) have been set up by government, industry and academia to facilitate the transfer of knowledge and experience between industry and the science base. They bring together diverse organisations and provide activities and initiatives that promote the exchange of knowledge and the stimulation of innovation in these communities.
The first KTNs were set up in 2005 and the network continues to grow. They are active in sectors, technologies and market-based areas and they interact strongly with the government’s Technology Programme and overall technology strategy.
The Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) was established by One NorthEast as a UK wide resource to stimulate and drive innovation within the Process Industry. Working with global industry partners and leading research universities CPI is committed to delivering world-class, groundbreaking applied research and development.
About The Technology Strategy Board
The Technology Strategy Board (www.innovateuk.org ) is a business-led executive non-departmental public body, established by the government. Its role is to promote and support research into, and development and exploitation of, technology and innovation for the benefit of UK business, in order to increase economic growth and improve the quality of life.