Cordis covers a workshop on nanoeducation needs: "While the traditional approach to education can be depicted as an inverted pyramid, with the breadth of study getting narrower as the researcher progresses, head of the Commission's unit on research training networks Bruno Schmitz outlined the need for an hourglass approach to nano training, with the breadth of study widening again as the researcher gains in experience." (Source: ICON) Read more for clarification. from Christine Peterson: From the beginning, what I've heard from nanotech leaders is that they don't want graduates who are all breadth and no depth. They need to put together multidisciplinary teams in which each member has major knowledge and experience in at least one field: molecular physics, materials science, chemistry, biology, computer science, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, etc. They are concerned that students not get new types of "nano" degrees that just provide a superficial survey of the various nano-relevant areas — depth is important.
So how I interpret the quote about the hourglass is that graduates need the usual broad background one normally gets as an undergrad, then serious depth in at least one area of specialization, and then broader experience as a member of a team working on a multidisciplinary project.