A few trends that have emerged over the last year.
1.Solutions not Technology.
Industry is moving beyond interest in all things nano and looking for solutions. Nanotechnology may play a greater or lesser role in these solutions, but for Industry to get excited there has to be an effect on the bottom line, i.e. the fundamentals not the stock price.
2.Nano must deliver.
Nanotechnology has been hyped for four years now. While the scientific and research communities are happy, we need to deliver some tangible results that the general public can understand. If after $6Bn all we have to show is stain resistant pants then we have a communications problem.
3.We have to understand the risks.
The last year has been characterised by a number of scare stories, from grey goo to brain damaged fish. The issues have been handled better in Europe than the US, and bridges are being built. Despite us having much better access to tools and analysis to quantify risk, there are still blank spots on the map that need to be quickly filled in.
4.It’s time to look beyond ‘nano.’
We need to focus on the applications not the technology. The Nanosys IPO will be a distraction, but most of the real sustainable value created via nanotechnology won’t be called nanotech.
5.We need to distinguish between flavours of nanotechnology.
It is no good to have people talking about MNT and materials science using the same name. The distinction needs to be made absolutely clear.
6.The US makes all the noise, but Europe is doing a lot of work.
Despite being better funded than the US, European nanotech has a lower profile. We are seeing this gradually change as European companies tend to keep quiet about R&D until they have a product to announce. We are now seeing those products. From the amount of activity we see within Europeans companies, in the next year, we will see the trickle become a flood.