Nanotechnology in Mexico: Market Report

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Introduction
Nanotechnology Organisations
Nanotechnology Companies
Nanotechnology Education and Research
Recent Developments

Introduction

Mexico is located in North America and shares borders with USA to the north and Belize and Guatemala to the south. The total area of the country is 1,964,375 km2 and it had a population of 114,975,406 as of July 2012. 

Mexico has a free market economy with the private sector growing stronger every year. It has established free trade agreements with over 50 countries. Despite the economic downturn of 2009, the country’s GDP saw positive growth of 5.4% in 2010 and 3.8% in 2011. Mexico’s GDP in 2011 was $1.667 trillion.

The country enjoys the highest tourism income in Latin America. It also has a very strong automotive industry. The Mexican government gives adequate importance to the development of science and technology in the country.

Nanotechnology Organisations

Mexico has an organisation committed to promoting and exploring nanoscience. A brief introduction to this organisation is provided below:

Nanatecnologia - is a web portal for researchers and students interested in nanotechnology and related activities in Mexico.

Nanotechnology Companies

Nanotechnology is a diverse field that brings together numerous scientific disciplines and can be applied to several industries. The main company in Mexico involved in nanotechnology is briefly described below:

Grupo KUO - KUO aims to create value in a sustainable and satisfactory manner for their stakeholders through the effective management of a dynamic business portfolio. KUO is a global Group that produces with its own technology and exports to around 70 countries across all continents.  Companies under KUO group include Dacomsa, Dynasol, Forestaciones Operativas de México, Fritec, Herdez Del Fuerte, INSA, Kekén, Macro-M, Nhumo, Pistones Moresa, and Resirene.

Nanotechnology Education and Research

Mexico is home to many universities offering research and educational opportunities in nanotechnology. Given below is a list of these universities and the academic courses or research opportunities that they offer.

Universidad tecnológica gral. Mariano EscobedoThis university supports research in the use of nanotechnology in the materials field.

Instituto Nacional de Astrofisica, Optica y Electronica (INAOE) - The Electronics Department promotes research in nanotechnology. 

Laboratorio Nacional de Nanotecnología - is a part of Centro de Investigación en Materiales Avanzados (CIMAV). It offers research opportunities in nanotechnology.

Instituto Potosino de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica (IPICyT) - The Advanced Materials Department conducts theoretical and experimental research into new materials such as nanostructured and organic materials for application in organic electronics. 

Center for Research and Advanced Studies of the National Polytechnic Institute - Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados del Instituto Politécnico Nacional (CINVESTAV). The center offers research opportunities in nanotechnology.

Instituto Mexicano del Petróleo - offers nanotechnology-based research opportunities in Molecular Engineering.

Universidad de las Américas Puebla (UDLAP) - offers an undergraduate program in Nanotechnology and Molecular Engineering. The program has the Official Study Certification (RVOE) of the Ministry of Education (SEP). 

Universidad Veracruzana - This University promotes the Centro de Investigaciones en Micro y Nanotecnología. It also offers a Master’s level program in Micro and Nanosystems.

Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico - is involved in nanotechnology through the following departments:

Recent Developments

Mexico has shown keen interest in developing its nanotechnology sector since 2002, as the government sees a clear link between this field and progress into the global market. Several public research institutes have signed agreements with foreign institutions, companies and the military to open graduate courses focused on nanotechnology research. However the collective effort has hit a huge hurdle in the form of eco-anarchists.

Nanotechnology lab bombings by eco-anarchists have made headlines over the last couple of years in Mexico.  On August 8, 2011 a shoe-box-sized package was sent to a computer scientist at the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education in Mexico City. It contained 20-cm-long pipe bomb that left two people severely injured. A group calling themselves Individuals Tending Towards Savagery (ITS) claimed responsibility for the bombing in a 5500-word article against nanotechnology that they published online.

The bombers also listed another five researchers at Monterrey Tec as potential targets. This group was also involved in other bombings earlier that year, and later a gunpowder package exploded at Polytechnic University of Pachuca in December of 2011. Universities across the country now follow stringent security measures to ensure the safety of all the people.

ITS has also claimed responsibility for the 2011 shooting murder of a biotechnology researcher as well as seven bomb attempts that have resulted in injuries to three people. They are also suspected of mailing two unclaimed bombs.

In terms of nanotechnology publications in the Latin-American region, Mexico runs a distant second to Brazil in cumulative number of publications between 2000 and 2007. This relatively high number of publications is no doubt the result of Mexico's heavy investment in nanotechnology, precipitated by the fact that they believe that nanotechnology is the route to economic development through the development of a more powerful research and industrial base and ultimately the transition to a knowldege-based economy.

Nanotechnology, having been identified as a focus area, has also resulted in the number of universities hosting research groups expanding in recent years. Mexico also has the advantage over other Latin-American nations that is shares a border with the US. This geographical advantage enabled co-operation for high technology developments e.g. the Silicon Border Development Science Park started in 2006.

Mexico's GERD has grown from 0.37% of GDP in 2007 to 0.44% of GDP in 2009 with the government providing most of the funding.

Mexico's commitment to nanotechnology, backed up by significant levels of funding indicate that this sector will continue to be a focus area and will no doubt continue to grow at a steady rate in the near future. Continued funding will hopefully attract more researchers to the field, producing more publications/technology and increasing levels of awareness. Close proximity to their northern neighbors, the US can be beneficial through collaboration and nearby markets for resulting products, but can also be detrimental if quality researchers are lured north of the border by better wages.

References

  1. Nanotechnology: Armed resistance
  2. In Manifesto, Mexican Eco-Terrorists Declare War on Nanotechnology
  3. OECD - STI Outlook for Mexico 2012 (PDF)
  4. Developing nanotechnology in Latin America

 

Date Added: Aug 7, 2013 | Updated: Aug 21, 2013
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