I have been fascinated by the Russian government’s foray into nanotechnology; it contains intrigue, hidden complexities, and more than its share of skepticism.
The list of skeptics even extends to the country's political leaders.
"[Rusnano] is the kind of instrument that sometimes works and sometimes doesn't work at all," President Dmitry Medvedev said two years ago, calling the company a "large structure that has a lot of money and that still has to understand how to correctly spend it."
Well, it seems that Rusnano has overcome that learning curve and is spending…a lot. Over at TNT Log this week there is a pretty thorough recap of the deals that Rusnano has been involved in to date.
But so fast and furious is the action at this point that there are already new deals here at the end of the week to add to the list. For instance, Rusnano and Toyota Tsusho have signed a memorandum of cooperation in the fields of electronics, organic chemistry, the environment, and automobile manufacturing.
A fair share of the announced deals really only involve MOUs, and the world of business is littered with MOUs that never actually turn into contracts. Nonetheless, is a picture developing from the deals we have seen thus far?
It’s hard to say for sure, but at least TNT Log characterizes them as being on the riskier side of the investment scale. And well should they be, in my estimation. If you’re going after market segments that will be affected by the enabling technology of nanotech, then you're likely to find yourself in some pretty risky investments.
Dexter Johnson is a contributing editor at IEEE Spectrum, with a focus on nanotechnology.