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The Next Production Revolution

Implications for Governments and Business

image of The Next Production Revolution

This publication examines the opportunities and challenges, for business and government, associated with technologies bringing about the “next production revolution”. These include a variety of digital technologies (e.g. the Internet of Things and advanced robotics), industrial biotechnology, 3D printing, new materials and nanotechnology. Some of these technologies are already used in production, while others will be available in the near future. All are developing rapidly. As these technologies transform the production and the distribution of goods and services, they will have far-reaching consequences for productivity, skills, income distribution, well-being and the environment. The more that governments and firms understand how production could develop in the near future, the better placed they will be to address the risks and reap the benefits.

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Tapping nanotechnology's potential to shape the next production revolution

Nanotechnology is a general-purpose technology (GPT), which enabled numerous product and process innovations, as well as productivity and sustainability enhancements in nearly all existing market sectors. Nanotechnology has the potential to enable further innovations and establish new market sectors in the near future. Continuing advancement of nanotechnology requires substantial investment in research and development (R&D) and commercialisation. Investment should be supported by inter- and intra-national collaborations, providing virtual research infrastructures, which allow the sharing of otherwise prohibitively expensive equipment and foster interdisciplinary research ecosystems that are inclusive of academia, governmental research and large and small companies, in order to fully harness nanotechnology’s innovation power in all existing and in potentially new industry sectors. Novel business and innovation-funding models should be developed, which account for the increasing multidisciplinarity and the advancing digitalisation of innovation. Regulatory hurdles to the commercialisation of nanotechnology should be removed.

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