The Impacts of Nanotechnology on Companies

Policy Insights from Case Studies

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Nanotechnology has its origin in the converging abilities of physics, chemistry and materials science.  Its purpose is the manipulation of atoms and molecules in order to create new properties of materials and systems for a wide variety of applications in a very broad range of sectors. Nanotechnology is forecast to create large markets and many new jobs and may be the springboard for industrial renewal and long-term growth. Governments around the world have targeted this emerging technology in their R&D investments and are strategising about the best ways to promote the responsible development and use of nanotechnology given the absence of any in-depth analysis of its commercialisation.

What are the potential economic impacts of nanotechnology, how are companies using nanotechnology for innovation, and what are the key challenges in its commercialisation? These are some of the issues that this book addresses, based on a large number of company case studies in several countries.



Nanotechnology is an emerging field and is currently receiving a good deal of attention in most industrialised countries, as large policy initiatives and related R&D investments demonstrate. It enables the purposeful engineering of matter at very small length scales – at the level of atoms and molecules – and can therefore contribute to new industrial applications in a very broad range of sectors. The fundamental characteristics of nanotechnology have led analysts to suggest that it may constitute a basis for longterm productivity and economic growth. It may also help to address pressing national and global challenges in areas such as health care, energy, water and climate change. Traditional science and technology indicators highlight the broad-based nature of nanotechnology, while consultants forecast large markets and contributions to entrepreneurship and job creation. Nonetheless, there is inadequate reliable information in terms of the implications of nanotechnology for companies and business environments and how policies for innovation should respond.


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