Cientifica, the worlds most respected nanotechnology information and forecasting company has just released the much anticipated 2011 report on global nanotechnology funding and impact.
Founder Tim Harper commenented, "It's something we do every year, undertaking one of the world's most exhaustive searches into the global funding of nanotechnologies in order to identify not only where the dollars, euros and yen are being spent, but also to gain an unique insight into the trends shaping tomorrow's applications."
The major change for this year has been to develop a method of determining how effective government investment in emerging technologies is likely to be, using data from the World Economic Forum's annual Global Competitiveness Report among other sources.
The report found that while countries such as the UK have academic excellence, the service based economy means that there is little outlet for the fruits of nanotechnology research, unlike for example Germany which has a large and vibrant manufacturing sector that is hungry for new technologies to stay competitive.
A white paper giving an overview of the key numbers, which we believe to be the most accurate available anywhere, can be downloaded here.
Key findings are:
- With US government funding of nanotechnology receding slightly in 2011, Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) estimates indicate that for the first time, China will spend more than the US to fund nanotechnology.
- In the last 11 years, governments around the world have invested more than US$67.5 billion in nanotechnology funding. When corporate research and various other forms of private funding are taken into account, nearly a quarter of a trillion dollars will have been invested in nanotechnology by 2015.
- Corporate research and private funding were thought to have surpassed government funding figures as far back as 2004. But this year, according to Cientifica's estimates, in PPP terms China will spend US$2.25 billion in nanotechnology research while the US will spend US$2.18 billion. In real dollar terms, adjusted for currency exchange rates, China is only spending about US$1.3 billion to the US's $2.18 billion.
- This appears to be a temporary hiccup in US dominance in public funding of nanotechnology with the US again taking the lead next year even in PPP terms, spending $2.46 billion with China allotting $2.2 billion.
- Cientifica's index of countries' ability to take advantage of emerging technologies indicates the US, Germany, Taiwan and Japan have the combination of academic excellence, technology-hungry companies, skilled workforces and the availability of early stage capital to ensure effective technology transfer.
When combined with levels of nanotechnology funding, the US is still the place to be, although China and Russia are increasingly attractive. The UK and UK and India struggle at the bottom of the league.