Every year we take a look at the global funding of nanotechnologies, a project that started out in the early days of nanotechnology when people desperately wanted to see who was pumping in the most cash and whether the US, Japan or Europe was leading the race. Of course pure numbers on their own aren’t much good, which is why we also started looking at how the money was being spent so that we could make a rational asessment of its likely impact.
A new competition is brewing according at least to an article on SciDev.net looking at an article comparing indian and chinese efforts in nanotechnology. According to the headline, China is ‘soaring ahead’ (of India) in nanotechnology research based on an analysis of the rather crude metrics of papers published in journals and international patents.
Research in China has been more “sophisticated” than India, the study said, focusing on nano-materials and their applications. Indian research, the paper says, “shows a healthy trend towards addressing developmental problems” such as nanotechnology-based water solutions, drug delivery and the environment — although the authors noted that this is a preliminary assessment.
The picture may be even worse according to our data. We calculate a Nanotech Impact Factor which measures the ability of the funding of nanotechnologies to make an impact, based on the existing infrastructure, competitiveness of the local economy, overall level of scientific ability, and demand, or lack of it, from domestic industry. On this measure, has India has already lost the race?