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Nanotechnology in the developing world

Foresight Research Associate Bryan Bruns reports: “Will heavy investments in nanotechnology lead to a North-South nanodivide? In the Policy Forum of the July 1 issue of Science, an article, Small Things and Big Changes in the Developing World, argues that the answer appears to be no. Mohammed H.A. Hassan of the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS), Trieste, Italy, suggests that nanotechnology may reflect the new realities of 21st century global science where scientists and technologists from developing countries continue working in their home countries, and those countries develop sophisticated science and technology policies. However, South-South gaps in capabilities are emerging, with some countries lagging behind. Hassan recommends developing centers of excellence, networks, and “national policies that explicitly call for investments in research projects that focus on issues of critical importance in the developing world, including access to safe drinking water; the development of low-cost yet efficient sources of renewable energy; and the creation of gels that can reduce the risk of HIV/AIDS transmission.”

These goals correspond to Foresight Nanotech Challenges #2, 1, and 3, respectively, to be explored at the Applications sessions at this fall’s Foresight Conference on Advanced Nanotechnology. –CP

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