The Real Challenge for Nanotechnology Initiatives: Staffing

It seems the whole world has jumped on the nanotechnology bandwagon, announcing national initiatives and allocating funding to expansive programs.

These initiatives are, of course, filled with logistical obstacles, constructing facilities, getting the right equipment, determining the research agenda, etc. The list goes on like this, but no problem may be more acute than getting the necessary staffing.

How do countries that donâ''t have the native scientists and technologists to support these ambitious initiatives manage to recruit the people they need?

This issue is portrayed poignantly in Indiaâ''s national newspaper, The Hindu, where eleven students at the National Centre for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology in Chennai have been waiting around patiently for the past six months to start their core curriculum as they await the hiring of a professor who would head the department, a reader and two lecturers.

Despite the call for the positions having gone out in May 2006, there is still no professor, reader, or lecturers.

While in this case the university claims they have received a sufficient number of applications, and the holdup has been due to â''delays by the universityâ''s administrative authorities,â'' it will likely prove difficult for some countries and regions to compete for the top scientists and researchers in nanotechnology.

With the example of India, there are many native scientists and engineers that can continue to support the countryâ''s nanotechnology initiatives. But there are those in which recruitment will be necessary, and billion dollar funding announcements wonâ''t fix the problem.

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