I hope this is the first of more editions for Alberta’s Nanotechnology Asset Map booklet in print/PDF versions as it provides one of the very few overviews of the nanotechnology scene in Canada even if it is confined to one province. The only other comparable document (that I know of) was the BC Nanotechnology Asset Map which was distributed in March 2008 by Nanotech BC (now defunct).
I expect nanoAlberta can rely on provincial government support given that (from the booklet),
Recognizing Alberta’s opportunities, the Government of Alberta launched a strategy in 2007 to create $20 billion in new nanotechnology-enabled commerce by the year 2020. Under the strategy, the provincial government has committed to provide $130 million over five years to expand research and development of new commercial applications that support Alberta’s traditional economic strengths and spur economic growth. (p. 2 of the executive summary in the print version, p. 7 of PDF)
The booklet is 118 pages in PDF or 73 pages in print (for some reason the pages for the executive summary are counted separately from the report resulting in the large count disparity between the PDF and print versions).
The report itself includes a listing of nanotechnology researchers in Alberta along with their areas of specialization, an overview of the research institutions, a listing of various agencies designed to support commercialization. a list of current nanotechnology businesses located in Alberta, and more. The interactive map produced by nanoAlberta is available here and includes a link to each company’s website.
I was relieved to see mention of nanotechnology in relation to social issues as per the reference to this team at Canada’s National Institute of Nanotechnology (NINT),
NE3LS – Nanotechnology, Ethical, Environmental, Economic, Legal and Social Issues
The overarching goal of NE3LS research is to focus attention on the broader issues that nanotechnology raises and to inspire the responsible and ethical translation of nanotechnology to society. NE3LS researchers focus on understanding the development of nanoscience and technology within a broader societal and transnational context. Current and ongoing research is focused on the development of a deeper understanding of issues related to the environment, human health and safety, law, policy and ethics, public opinion, commercialization and the development of a socio-historical analysis of the growth of nanoscience and technology. (p. 69 in PDF and p. 35 in print version)
Interestingly, the researchers for the NE3LS group are not named in the researchers’ listing. I don’t know what the standard international take is on including social researchers and their ilk as part of the nanotechnology research scene but this exclusion reminded me of something. There’s a void to be found in Canada where there have been very few attempts to study and/or discuss social impacts that nanotechnology could have on society generally and in Canada relative to the activity I observe in the US, UK, and Europe. Anyway, I hope one day to see social science and humanities researchers included in lists of nanotechnology researchers in Canada regardless of what is done internationally.
From a navigational perspective, I would have appreciated a table of contents for the full booklet rather than than one for each section (although strangely they didn’t offer a table of contents for the executive summary which was 20 pp.) of the booklet and an index might have been nice too. I’m not sure why the pagination was not consistent throughout the book since there was no need to exclude the executive summary from the page count.
Overall this is a very welcome first effort.