I have three news bits today.
From a Nov. 14, 2016 posting by Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton for The National Law Review (Note: A link has been removed),
The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) recently published an English version of its Action Plan Nanotechnology 2020. Based on the success of the Action Plan Nanotechnology over the previous ten years, the federal government will continue the Action Plan Nanotechnology for the next five years. Action Plan Nanotechnology 2020 is geared towards the priorities of the federal government’s new “High-Tech Strategy” (HTS), which has as its objective the solution of societal challenges by promoting research. According to Action Plan Nanotechnology 2020, the results of a number of research projects “have shown that nanomaterials are not per se linked with a risk for people and the environment due to their nanoscale properties.” Instead, this is influenced more by structure, chemical composition, and other factors, and is thus dependent on the respective material and its application.
A Nov. 16, 2016 posting on Out-Law.com provides mores detail about the plan (Note: A link has been removed),
Eight ministries have been responsible for producing a joint plan on nanotechnology every five years since 2006, the Ministry said. The ministries develop a common approach that pools strategies for action and fields of application for nanotechnology, it [Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research] said.
The German public sector currently spends more than €600 million a year on nanotechnology related developments, and 2,200 organisations from industry, services, research and associations are registered in the Ministry’s nanotechnology competence map, the report said.
“There are currently also some 1,100 companies in Germany engaged [in] the use of nanotechnology in the fields of research and development as well as the marketing of commercial products and services. The proportion of SMEs [small to medium enterprises?] is around 75%,” it said.
Nanotechnology-based product innovations play “an increasingly important role in many areas of life, such as health and nutrition, the workplace, mobility and energy production”, and the plan “thus pursues the objective of continuing to exploit the opportunities and potential of nanotechnology in Germany, without disregarding any potential risks to humans and the environment.”, the Ministry said.
Technology law expert Florian von Baum of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com said: “The action plan aims to achieve and secure Germany’s critical lead in the still new nanotechnology field and to recognise and use the full potential of nanotechnology while taking into account possible risks and dangers of this new technology.”
“With the rapid pace of development and the new applications that emerge every day, the government needs to ensure that the dangers and risks are sufficiently recognised and considered. Nanotechnology will provide great and long-awaited breakthroughs in health and ecological areas, but ethical, legal and socio-economic issues must be assessed and evaluated at all stages of the innovation chain,” von Baum said.
You can find Germany’s Action Plan Nanotechnology 2020 here, all 64 pp.of it.
Israel and Germany
A Nov. 16, 2016 article by Shoshanna Solomon for The Times of Israel announces a new joint (Israel-Germany) nanotechnology fund,
Tsrael and Germany have set up a new three-year, €30 million plan to promote joint nanotechnology initiatives and are calling on companies and entities in both countries to submit proposals for funding for projects in this field.
“Nanotech is the industry of the future in global hi-tech and Israel has set a goal of becoming a leader of this field, while cooperating with leading European countries,” Ilan Peled, manager of Technological Infrastructure Arena at the Israel Innovation Authority, said in a statement announcing the plan.
In the past decade nanotechnology, seen by many as the tech field of the future, has focused mainly on research. Now, however, Israel’s Innovation Authority, which has set up the joint program with Germany, believes the next decade will focus on the application of this research into products — and countries are keen to set up the right ecosystem that will draw companies operating in this field to them.
Over the last decade, the country has focused on creating a “robust research foundation that can support a large industry,” the authority said, with six academic research institutes that are among the world’s most advanced.
In addition, the authority said, there are about 200 new startups that were established over the last decade in the field, many in the development stage.
I know it’s been over 70 years since the events of World War II but this does seem like an unexpected coupling. It is heartening to see that people can resolve the unimaginable within the space of a few generations.
Iran and Cuba
A Nov. 16, 2016 Mehr News Agency press release announces a new laboratory in Cuba,
Iran is ready to build a laboratory center equipped with nanotechnology in one of nano institutes in Cuba, Iran’s VP for Science and Technology Sorena Sattari said Tuesday [Nov. 15, 2016].
Sorena Sattari, Vice-President for Science and Technology, made the remark in a meeting with Fidel Castro Diaz-Balart, scientific adviser to the Cuban president, in Tehran on Tuesday [November 15, 2016], adding that Iran is also ready to present Cuba with a gifted package including educational services related to how to operate the equipment at the lab.
During the meeting, Sattari noted Iran’s various technological achievements including exports of biotechnological medicine to Russia, the extensive nanotechnology plans for high school and university students as well as companies, the presence of about 160 companies active in the field of nanotechnology and the country’s achievements in the field of water treatment.
“We have sealed good nano agreements with Cuba, and are ready to develop our technological cooperation with this country in the field of vaccines and recombinant drugs,” he said.
Sattari maintained that the biggest e-commerce company in the Middle East is situated in Iran, adding “the company which was only established six years ago now sales over $3.5 million in a day, and is even bigger than similar companies in Russia.”
The Cuban official, for his part, welcomed any kind of cooperation with Iran, and thanked the Islamic Republic for its generous proposal on establishing a nanotechnology laboratory in his country.
This coupling is not quite so unexpected as Iran has been cozying up to all kinds of countries in its drive to establish itself as a nanotechnology leader.