David Kirkpatrick

August 18, 2009

Nanotech across the United States

A release from this morning:

Putting Nanotechnology on the Map

New data show nanotechnology-related activities in every U.S. state

WASHINGTON, Aug. 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Every state can now lay claim to the nanotechnology revolution.

Data released today by the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies (PEN) highlights more than 1,200 companies, universities, government laboratories, and other organizations across all 50 U.S. states and in the District of Columbia that are involved in nanotechnology research, development, and commercialization. This number is up 50 percent from the 800 organizations identified just two years ago.

While many of the original “Nano Metro” clusters — areas with the nation’s highest concentration of nanotechnology companies, universities, research laboratories, and organizations — have maintained their prominence in the field, areas such as Boston have moved up in the rankings, while others, such as Raleigh, N.C., have broken into the top-ranked locations for the first time.

This information is part of PEN’s interactive map displaying the growing “Nano Metro” landscape, powered by Google Maps(R), and available online at www.nanotechproject.org/121. The map’s accompanying analysis ranks cities and states by numbers of companies, academic and government research centers, and organizations and technology focus by sector.

  Nanotechnology Map Highlights:

  —  The top 4 states overall (each with over 75 entries) are California,
      Massachusetts, New York, and Texas. These states have retained their
      lead since the first analysis was released in 2007. Ohio has moved up
      four spots as the state with the sixth most entries.  North Carolina
      has broken into the top 10 states for the first time.
  —  All 50 states and the District of Columbia have at least one company,
      university, government laboratory, or organization working in the
      field of nanotechnology.
  —  The top 6 Nano Metros (each with 30 or more entries) are: Boston; San
      Francisco; San Jose, Calif.; Raleigh; Middlesex-Essex, Mass.; and
      Oakland, Calif. Boston and San Francisco have taken the lead from San
      Jose. Raleigh has moved into the top 5 Nano Metros (displacing
      Oakland).
  —  The top 3 sectors for companies working in nanotechnology (each with
      over 200 entries) are: materials; tools and instruments; and medicine
      and health.

  —  The number of universities and government laboratories working in
      nanotechnology is still substantial, as it was in 2007, with 182
      identified.

“The rapid growth in nanotechnology activity across the United States illustrates the impact of continued and significant investments in nanoscience and nanoengineering by the federal government and private sector,” said PEN Director David Rejeski.  “There is now not a single state without organizations involved in this cutting-edge field.”

The global market for goods based on nanotechnology is predicted to grow from $147 billion in 2007 to $3.1 trillion in 2015, according to the research and advisory firm Lux Research. “Given this expected continuation in growth, the ‘Nano Metro’ map remains a work in progress and will be further updated as more data becomes available,” according to Rejeski.

About Nanotechnology

Nanotechnology is the ability to measure, see, manipulate and manufacture things usually between 1 and 100 nanometers. A nanometer is one billionth of a meter; a human hair is roughly 100,000 nanometers wide.

The Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies was launched in 2005 by the Wilson Center and The Pew Charitable Trusts. It is a partnership dedicated to helping business, governments, and the public anticipate and manage the possible health and environmental implications of nanotechnology. To learn more, visit www.nanotechproject.org.

Source: The Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies
   
Web Site:  http://www.nanotechproject.org/

January 15, 2009

Congress looking into nanotech safety

Hope this doesn’t stifle innovation. Congress sticking fingers into anything is usually a recipe for problems. Of course the source for this report is a pretty biased group in terms of wanting more oversight over nanotechnology.

The release from a few minutes ago:

Nanotech Safety High on Congress’ Priority List

New House bill addresses need for more risk research, oversight

WASHINGTON, Jan. 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The House Science and Technology Committee today introduced legislation that highlights the growing attention on Capitol Hill for the need to strengthen federal efforts to learn more about the potential environmental, health and safety (EHS) risks posed by engineered nanomaterials. Nanotechnology is an emerging technology that promises to usher in the next Industrial Revolution and is the focus of an annual $1.5 billion federal research investment.

The new bill (H.R. 554) is almost identical to legislation that passed the House last year with overwhelming bi-partisan support by a vote of 407 to 6. The Senate was expected to mark up similar legislation, but lawmakers ran out of time during the session.

Introduction of the bill comes only months after former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) official J. Clarence (Terry) Davies authored a report that makes a series of recommendations for improving federal risk research and oversight of engineered nanomaterials at EPA, the Food and Drug Administration and the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The report published by the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies (PEN), Nanotechnology Oversight: An Agenda for the Next Administration, offers a host of proposals for how Congress, federal agencies and the White House can improve oversight of engineered nanomaterials; see: http://www.nanotechproject.org/publications/archive/pen13/.

“We know that when materials are developed at the nanoscale that they pose potential risks that do not appear at the macroscale,” says David Rejeski, PEN’s director. “This new bill shows that lawmakers recognize both nanotechnology’s enormous promise and possible problems. The legislation reflects mounting Congressional interest in understanding potential risks in order to protect the public and to encourage safe commercial development and investment.”

The House bill comes only weeks after a National Research Council (NRC) panel issued a highly critical report describing serious shortfalls in the Bush administration’s strategy to better understand the EHS risks of nanotechnology and to effectively manage those potential risks.

The NRC report, Review of the Federal Strategy for Nanotechnology-Related Environmental, Health and Safety Research, calls for a significantly revamped national strategic plan that will minimize potential risks so that innovation will flourish and society will reap nanotechnology’s benefits in areas like medicine, energy, transportation and communications.

About Nanotechnology

Nanotechnology is the ability to measure, see, manipulate and manufacture things usually between 1 and 100 nanometers. A nanometer is one billionth of a meter; a human hair is roughly 100,000 nanometers wide. In 2007, the global market for goods incorporating nanotechnology totaled $147 billion. Lux Research projects that figure will grow to $3.1 trillion by 2015.

The Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies is an initiative launched by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and The Pew Charitable Trusts in 2005. It is dedicated to helping business, government and the public anticipate and manage possible health and environmental implications of nanotechnology. For more information about the project, log on to www.nanotechproject.org.

Source: The Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies
   
Web Site:  http://www.nanotechproject.org/

December 8, 2008

Nanotechnology needs a PR campaign

I’m doing my part. I’ve been fighting fear and ignorance about the subject and even bringing up some potential drawbacks.

And then I read this. Actually this release is on the same topic as the second link up there in graf one.

The release from today:

Nanotech: To know it is not necessarily to love it

Research shows cultural biases most impact opinion on nanotech

Washington, DC – Public opinion surveys report that the small fraction of people who know about nanotechnology have a favorable view of it. This finding has led many to assume that the public at large will respond favorably to nanotechnology applications as popular awareness grows, education expands and commercialization increases.

But the results of an experiment, conducted by the Cultural Cognition Project at Yale Law School in collaboration with the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies (PEN) and published Dec. 7 on the Nature Nanotechnology Web site, do not support this “familiarity hypothesis.”

The experiment found that how people react to information about nanotechnology depends on cultural predispositions. Exposed to balanced information, people with pro-commerce values tend to see the benefits of nanotechnology as outweighing any risks. However, people with egalitarian or communitarian values who are predisposed to blame commerce and industry for social inequities and environmental harm tend to see nanotechnology risks as outweighing benefits.

The study also found that people who have pro-commerce cultural values are more likely to know about nanotechnology than others. “Not surprisingly, people who are enthused by technology and believe it can be safe and beneficial tend to learn about new technologies before other people do,” said Dan Kahan, Professor at Yale Law School and lead author of the Nature Nanotechnology article. “So while various opinion polls suggest that familiarity with nanotechnology leads people to believe it is safe, they have been confusing cause with effect.”

The findings of the experiment highlight the need for any nanotechnology information and risk communication strategy to focus on message framing and to take an informed, multi-audience approach, according to PEN experts.

“The message matters. How information about nanotechnology is presented to the vast majority of the public who still know little about it can either make or break this technology,” says David Rejeski, the director of PEN. “Scientists, the government and industry generally take a simplistic, ‘just the facts’ approach to communicating with the public about a new technology. But this research shows that diverse audiences and groups react to the same information very differently.”

Because perfecting the science of nanotechnology risk communication is essential to society’s realization of the full benefits of nanotechnology itself, PEN experts believe that every major funding initiative directed at the development of nanotechnology and the study of nanotechnology risks should include a risk-communication component.

“Without investment in understanding how to explain the potential risks, as well as the potential benefits, to the public, significant innovation could be stifled,” Rejeski adds.

 

###

 

The study was conducted as part of a series of public opinion analyses being conducted jointly by the Cultural Cognition Project and the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies. Previous experiments, which also examined the influence of emotion and the identity of information providers on public attitudes, can be found at www.nanotechproject.org/yale.

About Nanotechnology

Nanotechnology is the ability to measure, see, manipulate and manufacture things usually between 1 and 100 nanometers. A nanometer is one billionth of a meter; a human hair is roughly 100,000 nanometers wide. In 2007, the global market for goods incorporating nanotechnology totaled $147 billion. Lux Research projects that figure will grow to $3.1 trillion by 2015.

The Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies is an initiative launched by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and The Pew Charitable Trusts in 2005. It is dedicated to helping business, government and the public anticipate and manage possible health and environmental implications of nanotechnology. For more information about the project, log on to www.nanotechproject.org.

September 29, 2008

Nanotech coming at ya from left field

I’m guessing my readers don’t fall into this information category.

The release:

Nanotech and Synbio: Americans Don’t Know What’s Coming

Landmark poll shows little knowledge of emerging technologies

WASHINGTON, Sept. 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — A groundbreaking poll finds that almost half of U.S. adults have heard nothing about nanotechnology, and nearly nine in 10 Americans say they have heard just a little or nothing at all about the emerging field of synthetic biology, according to a new report released by the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies (PEN) and Peter D. Hart Research.  Both technologies involve manipulating matter at an incredibly small scale to achieve something new.

This new insight into limited public awareness of emerging technologies comes as a major leadership change is about to take hold in the nation’s capital.  Public policy experts are concerned, regardless of party, that the federal government is behind the curve in engaging citizens on the potential benefits and risks posed by technologies that could have a significant impact on society.

“Early in the administration of the next president, scientists are expected to take the next major step toward the creation of synthetic forms of life. Yet the results from the first U.S. telephone poll about synthetic biology show that most adults have heard just a little or nothing at all about it,” says PEN Director David Rejeski. The poll findings are contained a report published today, The American Public’s Awareness Of And Perceptions About Potential Risks and Benefits of Nanotechnology & Synthetic Biology, and available at:  http://www.nanotechproject.org/n/synbio_poll.

Synthetic biology is the use of advanced science and engineering to construct or re-design living organisms – like bacteria – so that they can carry out specific functions. This emerging technology is likely to develop rapidly in the coming years, much as nanotechnology did in the last decade. In the near future the first synthetic biology “blockbuster” drug is anticipated to hit the market – an affordable treatment for the 500 million people in the world suffering from malaria.

The poll, which was conducted by the same firm that produces the well-known NBC News/Wall Street Journal polls, found that about two-thirds of adults say they have heard nothing at all about synthetic biology, and only 2 percent say they have heard “a lot” about the new technology. Even with this very low level of awareness, a solid two-thirds of adults are willing to express an initial opinion on the potential benefits versus risks tradeoff of synthetic biology.

This survey was informed by two focus groups conducted in August in suburban Baltimore. This is the first time – to the pollsters’ knowledge – that synthetic biology has been the subject of a representative national telephone survey.

At the same time, the poll found that about half of adults say they have heard nothing at all about nanotechnology. About 50 percent of adults are too unsure about nanotechnology to make an initial judgment on the possible tradeoffs between benefits and risks. Of those people who are willing to make an initial judgment, they think benefits will outweigh risks by a three to one margin when compared to those who believe risks will outweigh benefits. The plurality of respondents, however, believes that risks and benefits will be about equal. A major industry forecasting firm determined that last year nanotech goods in the global marketplace totaled $147 billion.

According to the poll, the level of U.S. public awareness about nanotechnology has not changed measurably since 2004 when Hart Research conducted the first poll on the topic on behalf of the PEN.

About Nanotechnology

Nanotechnology is the ability to measure, see, manipulate and manufacture things usually between 1 and 100 nanometers. A nanometer is one billionth of a meter; a human hair is roughly 100,000 nanometers wide. In 2007, the global market for goods incorporating nanotechnology totaled $147 billion. Lux Research projects that figure will grow to $3.1 trillion by 2015.

About Synthetic Biology

Synthetic biology is the use of advanced science and engineering to make or re-design living organisms, such as bacteria, so that they can carry out specific functions. Synthetic biology involves making new genetic code, also known as DNA, that does not already exist in nature.

The Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies is an initiative launched by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and The Pew Charitable Trusts in 2005. It is dedicated to helping business, government and the public anticipate and manage possible health and environmental implications of nanotechnology. For more information about the project, log on to http://www.nanotechproject.org/.

For information about the Center, visit www.wilsoncenter.org.
Source: The Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies
   

Web Site:  http://www.nanotechproject.org/