The next part of the interview focuses on just how many companies in Canada could be defined as selling nanotechnology-based products and Jones’ role with Nanotech BC. He also provides more information about the organization’s projects.
(3) How big is the nanotechnology industry in BC? and in Canada? i.e. how many companies?
BC HAS ABOUT 15 CO; ALBERTA CLAIMS ABOUT 40 CO AND THEN ONTARIO AND QUEBEC HAVE A SIMILAR NUMBER EACH. BUT BC ALSO HAS A LARGE ~~ 120 OR SO – RESEARCHERS – RESEARCH EFFORT COVERING A DIVERSE AREAS OF ADVANCED MATERIALS, COATINGS; LAB ON A CHIP, QUANTUM PHYSICS, DRUG DELIVERY AND NANO BIO WORK ON-GOING. MOST OF THIS IS STILL IN LABS AT UBC – AMPEL; ALSO SFU – 4D LABS AND UVIC HAS SOME EXCELLENT WORK TOO. E.G. ONE BC COMPANY IS A LEADER IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF A QUANTUM COMPUTER. ONE SPECIALIZES IN COATINGS….ETC.
NANO IS NOT AN INDUSTRY – IT IS A BROAD ENABLING TECHNOLOGY – A GENERAL PURPOSE TECHNOLOGY ( GPT) AND THEREFORE GETS EMBEDDED INTO A RANGE OF PRODUCTS AND PROCESSES WHERE MANIPULATION OF MATTER AT THE ATOMIC SCALE ENABLES MATERIAL CHARACTERISTICS AND PROCESSES NOT OTHERWISE ACHIEVABLE. SO FAR MOST OF THE MATERIALS ARE FINDING APPLICATION IN COATINGS, TEXTILES; COMPOSITE MATERIALS AND PERSONAL CARE PRODUCTS E.G. SUNCREEN/ HAIR CARE.; ADVANCED ELECTRONICS…. SEE THE WOODROW WILSON PROJECT ON EMERGING NANOTECHNOLOGIES. (here) ADOPTION TIMES FOR NEW MATERIALS ARE OFTEN YEARS IN THE MAKING, BUT SOME 800 PRODUCTS USING NMATERIALS ARE IN THE MARKET NOW.
(3) Can you tell me about your role with Nanotech BC given its current situation? I’ve seen your website and am wondering if you might be able to tell me a little more about what you do professionally.
I AM NO LONGER A BOARD MEMBER SO I HAVE NO OFFICIAL CAPACITY WITH NANOTECH BC NOR DO I SPEAK FOR THE ORGANIZATION. OF COURSE I AM SUPPORTIVE OF THE ORGANIZATION BUT NOW REFER ENQUIRIES TO MICHAEL ALLDRITT – DIRECTOR – AT NRC-IRAP WHO HAS BEEN A GREAT SUPPORTER OF THE PROJECT GOING BACK TO 2001.
I CONTINUE TO DO CONSULTING IN THE ARENA OF CANADIAN STANDARDS WORK ON NANOMATERIALS AND ALSO THE DEVELOPMENT OF WWW.GOODNANOGUIDE.ORG. THIS WEBSITE WAS A CONCEPT OF ICON ( RICE U) WHICH WAS ASSISTED THROUGH NANOTECH BC AND OTHER CANADIAN ORGANIZATIONS AS I ARRANGED THE FUNDING FOR THE BETA STAGE. IT IS NOW OPEN TO WORLD INVOLVEMENT IN SHARING PROTOCOLS FOR THE SAFE HANDLING OF NANOMATERIALS. MY ROLE WITH THE ICON COMMITTEE WAS TO ROUND UP THE CANADIAN FUNDING TO REACH THIS STAGE AND AS A MEMBER OF THE IMPLEMENTATION COMMITTEE WORK THROUGH THE DETAILS OF THE FUNCTIONALITIES. THIS PROJECT CONTINUES AND IS INTERNATIONAL IN SCOPE WITH AN EXCELLENT COMMITTEE. – REPS FROM NIOSH EPA ETC… AS OHS PROCESSES WILL BE KEY TO BOTH RESEARCHER/ INDUSTRIAL SAFETY AND PUBLIC ACCEPTANCE OF NANOMATERIAL ENABLED PRODUCTS I EXPECT INTEREST IN THE SITE AS A SOURCE FOR OHS INFORMATION FOR PUBLIC AND SPECIALISTS TO GROW. (OHS = Occupational Health and Safety)
If I read Jones’ response correctly, we have almost 100 companies in Canada that are producing nano-enabled products. I’m not sure I worded that sentence so well but point well taken about the nonexistence of a nanotechnology industry (as I referred to it in my question) per se. One of the difficulties writing about nanotechnology is its rather amorphous quality. I made some comments along with other people on Andrew Maynard’s blog (2020 Science) about these difficulties.
I did not realize that BC hosts a company which is a leader in quantum computers. That’s pretty exciting stuff as is the work on occupational health and safety. Part 3 of the interview will be posted on Monday, May 18, 2009.