Is Determining the Impact of Nanotechnology a Useful Exercise?

The latest organization to take a crack at sorting out how nanotechnology is going to make its impact is the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which has just published a report entitled The Impacts of Nanotechnology on Companies.

Sorting out the impact of nanotechnology is a favorite pastime for governments and extra-governmental organizations , and this time the method involves performing 51 case studies of companies from all over the world and all different sizes. We already have a breakdown of the report from Nanowerk that gives us the main points. And as you might expect when distilling a 111-page report into a blog post, the main points seem pretty…well, predictable.

We get the none-too-illuminating insights that nanotechnology is an enabling technology, larger companies can excel at the early stages of assimilating nanotechnology into their products and that nanotechnology is a complex field due to its calling upon various disciplines.

It seems that many of the reports quasi determinations have been long understood by anyone in the business of bringing to market a nano-enabled product, such as VCs are absent from the funding mechanisms available for companies trying to commericalize a nano-eanbled product.

Sometimes I wonder who this kind of information is supposed to benefit. It seems to be researched and written by bureaucrats, who then are the people who read and base policy upon it and then it all gets ignored, or worse followed.

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Nanoclast

IEEE Spectrum’s nanotechnology blog, featuring news and analysis about the development, applications, and future of science and technology at the nanoscale.

 
Editor
Dexter Johnson
Madrid, Spain
 
Contributor
Rachel Courtland
Associate Editor, IEEE Spectrum
New York, NY
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