The UK is a well-established region within the global nanotechnology market. Home to numerous world-renowned academic research institutions, as well as market-leading nanotechnology companies, the country is one of the top regions for the development of this technology.
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Currently, the UK is spending around 1.67% of GDP on research and design into nanotechnology, and over 101 companies are operating in the UK nanotechnology market. The country has 4,252 nanotechnology researchers per million people, placing them 12th in the world, while 13.56 is the average number of times nano-articles from UK teams published within the past five years have been cited in the Journal Citation Reports, placing them 7th in the world.
As of July 2019, the UK takes second place in the world, in terms of its number of national nanotechnology standards, with 118, only falling behind China with 158. It is also 6th in the world in terms of how many nanotechnology patents it has established, with 102 as of September this year.
However, the UK remains 75th in the world in terms of how nanoscience is rated as a national priority. Experts comment that the UK has made fewer efforts than other global nanotechnology leaders, such as the US and Germany, to establish a firm strategy, ensuring the continued development of this particular field of science. While the UK is currently one of the world’s major players in the nanotechnology sector, it got off to a slow start in terms of government funding and terms of strategy. The country did not have a strategy until around a decade ago, which was criticized for being shaky, and not bold enough to allow the country to fully take advantage of the potential that nanotechnology presents, especially given the UK’s advantageous research and design position.
The top 10 Universities in the country for nanotechnology research are the University of London, the University of Cambridge, the University College London, Imperial College London, the University of Manchester, the University of Nottingham, the University of Birmingham, the University of Leeds, the University of Bristol, and the University of Glasgow.
There are over 100 companies based in the UK operating in the field of nanotechnology, below, some of the more prominent ones, in terms of size/revenue or what they have accomplished, are discussed.
Manchester-based 2-DTech is a top nanotechnology company that generates around $4.8 million in revenue annually. It previously won an Innovate UK grant for £100,000 to fund a project to develop improve anti-corrosive coatings with the carbon nanomaterial graphene.
BREC Solutions is a leading consultancy in nanotechnology innovation. The company conducts research and development, along with other services, and is part of the rising number of stakeholder expert groups in nanotechnology.
Based in Buckinghamshire, Efficiency Technologies is a well-established nanotechnology company that brings research and early-stage technology to application. It focuses on nanotechnologies in the fields of energy, industry, healthcare and the environment, which represent significant segments of the nanotechnology market.
Second generation nanomaterial company Graphitene is focused on the research, development, and sale of graphitene-based products. They work closely with the industries of energy, construction, and also storage businesses.
Phase Focus raised £3.2 million in funding to support their project to further develop their revolutionary virtual lens imaging and microscopy technology. The development of this technology primarily aims to assist the advancement of nanotechnology applications by enhancing their ability to analyze and visualize at the atomic scale.
Overall, the UK is well-positioned to become a major player in the global nanotechnology market, however, its lack of focused strategy and modest government funding may hold it back.