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Centralized approach of Russia’s nanotechnology program

Michael Berger at Nanowerk has compared the centralized strategy of Russia’s new nanotechnology program with the national nanotech strategies of other countries. From “Russia’s nanotechnology crash program“:

This week’s successful international nanotechnology forum Rusnanotech in Moscow has put a spotlight on Russia’s ambitions to catch up with the leading nanotechnology nations. While Russia has the money, the political will, and a well educated scientific base to be a leading player, it has completely missed the boat on developing its nanoscience programs and nanotechnology infrastructure.

In terms of gross domestic product (GDP), Russia ranks as the eleventh largest economy in the world. But while many smaller countries such as Australia or South Korea, not to mention all of the bigger nations, have invested steadily and broadly in all areas of nanosciences and nanotechnologies for years now, Russia has had no coordinated science policy, no industrial policy, and no commercial industrial base to develop its nanotechnology capabilities. Until last year, that is. In April 2007, the Russian president signed off on a public policy paper that ordered a multi-billion dollar program to develop a world-class Russian nanotechnology industry by 2015.

After describing the Russian program in some detail, Berger concludes:

It is obvious that Russia has chosen a much more centralized approach to developing a nanotechnology industry than most other industrial nations. While this could be a result of the countries past history of large state monopolies, it could on the other hand be the only realistic way of pulling off the crash development of the Russian nanoindustry.

…Time will show if the Russian approach works. With the flurry of deals, projects and cooperations announced over the past few months, not to mention the glitzy Rusnanotech event, they appear to be off to a good start.

—Jim

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