Nanotechnology enables the manipulation and control of matter and processes at very small scales where materials, devices and systems often gain new functionalities. It is often seen as a rapidly emerging general purpose technology which can enable both incremental and radical innovation in a broad range of industries, leading to potentially significant impacts on our economies and the way in which we live our lives. To unlock the possibilities supportive technologies, innovations, organisations, institutions and coordinated policies will be needed.
This report synthesises the key findings of the project Nanotechnology and industrial renewal in Finland which examined the present significance and future possibilities of nanotechnology in renewing established industries, and creating new ones, in Finland. The project was motivated by the increasingly significant attention that nanotechnology has been receiving in recent times in innovation policies in Finland and most other industrialized countries in the absence of substantive analysis of its nature, challenges and economic implications.
The report discusses, and provides policy observations on, the following issues in nanotechnology developments in Finland :
R&D investments and programs
Publication and patenting activity
Technology transfer from the public research sector to industry
Commercialisation and the role of new and small versus large companies
Application industries and linkages to existing areas of technological specialization