Tag Archives: NT-MDT

UNESCO and nanotechnology/nanoscience

UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) has awarded another of its medals for nanoscience and nanotechnologies (I first wrote about this medal in my November 11, 2010 posting when it was awarded to “Russian Academician Zhores Ivanovich Alferov, winner of the 2000 Nobel Prize in Physics; and Chunli Bai, Professor of Chemistry at the Laboratory of Molecular Nanostructure and Nanotechnology in Beijing and Executive Vice-President of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.”

This time the award has gone to Victor Bykov. From the April 12, 2011 news item on Azonano,

Director General of NT-MDT Co. Victor Bykov has been awarded by the UNESCO medal and a diploma for “Contribution to development of nanoscience and nanotechnologies”.

The UNESCO medal “Contribution to development of nanoscience and nanotechnologies” was established on the 1st of March 2010 in the framework of the theme “Nanoscience and Nanotechnologies” in the Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (EOLSS) published by UNESCO and EOLSS Publishers.

The medal is awarded by UNESCO Director General to representatives of nanoscience and nanotechnologies and scientific and public agencies, as well as politicians that contributed to the development of the above mentioned institutions in the spirit UNESCO’s priorities.

There sure seems to a strong Russian connection (from my Nov.11, 2010 posting),

The Medal was established at the initiative of the International Commission responsible for developing the Nanoscience and Nanotechnologies theme for the Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (EOLSS)* published by UNESCO and EOLSS Publishers. This initiative was supported by the Russian Federation’s Permanent Delegation to UNESCO. The EOLSS constitutes one of the world’s biggest web-based archives as a trans-disciplinary science base for sustainable development.

It’s early days, not even six months since the launch for this award, so it’s a little difficult to do much more than to note an interesting coincidence.

While UNESCO gives out medals, it’s also holding meetings like this one, Meeting of the COMEST (World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology) Working Group on the Ethics of Nanotechnologies, which was held on April 27 and 28, 2011. Excerpted from the April 28, 2011 news article by Narab Khan for the Kuwait News Agency (KUNA),

The Working Group on the Ethics of Nanotechnologies which is part of UNESCO’s World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology (COMEST) is meeting in Brussels Wednesday and Thursday to examine the ethical dimension of Nanotechnolgies.

Alain Pompidou, President of COMEST, told a press conference here Wednesday that the body is composed of 18 members from all over the world representing different disciplines.

However, [the first concern is that] the rapid pace of development in Nanotechnolgoies is creating difficulties in the identification of and response to potential impacts, especially long term impacts.

Secondly, the science and technology are being driven by the wrong kind of interests, not in interest of humanity but in particular military interests, noted Crowley.

The military is the main supporters of nano research in many parts of the world especially in the US.

“There is a concern that the scientific research might be distorted by the search for specific military applications that might serve as a distraction from the focus of achieving the Millennium Development goals and putting science to work for the benefit of humankind as a whole,” warned the UNESCO official.

The third concern is that developing countries might be left behind by rapid new developments in science which might be regarded from the ethical point of view as unacceptable.

The fourth concern is risk-management of using nano-materials. They are in the shops and one might buy them without knowing it.

(It seems the Kuwait News Agency is the only one to report on this meeting.) This item served to pique my interest in UNESCO’s World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology and so I’m providing this link so you can read more about them here. I’ve also found the agenda for the April 27 – 28, 2011 meeting of the Working Group on the Ethics of Nanotechnologies.

Ireland’s nanotechnology strategy

Since September (2010) there’s been a bit more news about Ireland’s nanotechnology efforts than usual as I noted in my Sept, 21, 2910 posting about a visit that Alberta’s Minister of Advanced Education, and Minister Liaison to the Canadian Forces, Doug Horner made to a city in the other country that shares that island, Northern Ireland’s Ulster, to see its Nanotechnology Centre.

On the Ireland front, Forfás, Ireland’s policy advisory board for enterprise and science, released, August 31, 2010, its Nanotechnology Commercialisation Framework 2010 -2014 with these comments (from the news release),

A substantial investment by the Irish Government in nanotechnology in recent years has made Ireland home to a world-class infrastructural base which will serve as a strong foundation to produce high quality nanotechnology research, push commercialisation and ensure Ireland’s international competitiveness in this space, according to a new report published today by Forfás, Ireland’s policy advisory board for enterprise and science. Ireland’s Nanotechnology Commercialisation Framework 2010-2014 presents a national framework to position Ireland as a knowledge and innovation centre for certain niche areas of nanotechnology.

Shortly after the framework was released an Irish delegation visited Russia to participate in a forum with RUSNANO (from the news item on Azonano),

On the 8th of September [2010] the one-day Russian-Ireland Forum of Nanotechnology was held in the head office of the Russian Corporation of Nanotechnologies (Russia). As the leading Russian manufacturer of equipment for nanoscience NT-MDT Co. participated in the Forum.

The Forum was organized by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and the Russian Corporation of Nanotechnologies (RUSNANO).

SFI is the statutory agency in Ireland responsible for disbursing funds for basic science research with a strategic focus. SFI plays a leading role in the implementation of the National Development Plan of Ireland 2007-2013. Under its remit, SFI invests in new knowledge projects in the area of information and energy-efficient technologies, nano- and biotechnologies, academic researchers.

RUSNANO is Russian state owned corporation established in 2007 to enable Government policy in the field of Nanotechnology. The corporation is aimed at commercializing developments in nanotechnology. RUSNANO co-invests in nanotechnology industry projects that have high commercial potential or social benefit.

President of Ireland Mary McAleese and RUSNANO CEO and Chairman of the Executive Broad Anatoly Chubais opened the Forum. In the welcoming remark, President of Ireland stressed the importance of the Forum and scientific cooperation between Russia and Ireland.

I see that NT-MDT is more intimately tied to Russian enterprise than I had realized. (I have previously posted about NT-MDT and the education market in this October 25, 2010 posting.)

Getting back to the framework, an October 18, 2010 posting on Intellibriefs notes this,

After investing heavily in infrastructure dedicated to nanotechnology, Ireland gets a real strategy and a coordination group involving industrialists, academics and officials from government agencies.

In August 2010 the Irish agency “PACKAGE” (Ireland’s policy advisory board for enterprise, trade, science, technology and innovation [aka Forfás]), issued a report recommending to target three key technology areas: advanced materials, electronics technology for Information and communication, and nanobiotechnology. This is to encourage the development of new products in the areas of electronics, medical devices and diagnostics, environmental applications and improved industrial processes.

This appears to be a translation of a French language news item from bulletins-electroniques.com,

Après avoir investi massivement dans les infrastructures dédiées aux nanotechnologies, l’Irlande se dote d’une véritable stratégie et d’un groupe de coordination associant des industriels, des universitaires et des responsables d’agences gouvernementales.

En août 2010 l’agence irlandaise “FORFAS” (Ireland’s policy advisory board for enterprise, trade, science, technology and innovation), a publié un rapport préconisant de cibler 3 domaines technologiques-clé : les matériaux avancés, l’électronique pour les technologies de l’information et la communication et les nanobiotechnologies. Il s’agit de favoriser le développement de produits nouveaux dans les secteurs de l’électronique, des dispositifs médicaux et outils de diagnostic, des applications environnementales et de l’amélioration des procédés industriels.

All of this puts me in mind of how Ireland established itself economically in the 1990s by focusing on science and technology. It appears they are about to take another gamble using a similar strategy but focusing on new sciences and technologies such as nanotechnology in a fashion designed to mobilize as much of the population as possible, i.e., a national strategy communicated as widely as possible.

RUSTEC holds an international education conference

November 15-19, 2o10 will see Arizona State University hosting NT-MDT and RUSTEC’s (Russian Technology Science and Education Consortia) first international workshop. I mentioned (in my June 30, 2010 posting about nanoeducation in Colombia, Russia, and Iral) NT-MDT and RUSTEC in the context of their May 2010 nanoeducation conference held in Russia at the Kurchatov Institute.

From the latest news item about NT-MDT and RUSTEC on Nanowerk,

NT-MDT Co. and the first international workshop of RUSTEC, the USA NT-MDT Co. will be sponsor and the official partner of the first international workshop of Russian Science Technology and Educational Consortia (RUSTEC) at Arizona State University (ASU), the USA.

Director-General of the NT-MDT Co. Viktor Bykov will chair the workshop together with Associate Vice-President for Research at ASU Stephen Goodnick and Associate Research Professor at ASU Anatoli Korkin.

The aim of the workshop is collaboration and prospective partnership between American and Russian scientific representatives. It will be a great forum for non-profit organization, companies, universities and research centers of the both countries.

More details about the workshop can be found on this Arizona State University webpage.

As for NT-MDT, it’s a trifle unusual in that it’s both an instrumentation company and it sells products to educators. Here’s their mission statement (from their About page),

Our mission is to enable researchers, engineers and developers to conduct nanoscale research by creating ever more perfect nanotechnology instrumentation. Along the way, we maintain a global perspective, always taking into consideration the needs of student in the classroom, the researcher at the cutting edge in the laboratory, and the practicalities of industrial R&D.

This reminds me a little of Apple which got its MAC computers into schools so that youngsters (who grow into adults) would choose to purchase Macs in the future. In this case, NT-MDT a company which produces equipment for scanning probe microscopy (SPM) is reaching out to educators who need equipment such as SPM’s in the classroom. So the company hosts workshops and conference about nanotechnology and, yes, they have a platform such as NANOEDUCATOR which bundles their SPM’s with software and other materials appropriate for teachers (from the product page),

The emerging field of nanotechnology offers promise in the development of different areas of life – from environmental protection to consumer goods production, from electronics to energetics, from healthcare to aerospace defense.

Thus the application of nanotechnology has a great influence not only on science, but also on daily activity, therefore, mentoring the next generation of researchers in nanoscience by means of thorough hands-on training is an all-important question.

For this purpose we designed NANOEDUCATOR – the scientific training complex with a set of learning aids, accessories for introducing students to nanotechnology and giving them a basic understanding of how work with objects at nanoscale level.

NANOEDUCATOR, student oriented SPM, is your key to the minuscule world, developed for use by even first-time microscope users, it can navigate through the step-by-step operation. This device is designed to capture the students interest in science and train future nanotechnologists using both AFM and STM techniques.

I gather the company sells its standard markets and the education market separately as it encourages brand awareness amongst youngsters.