At various times, I showed nano-level imaging results on this blog (July 2014, February 2015, April 2015), not least because nanotechnology is part of my life and research interests. But in many ways, micro-level visuals are at least as fascinating and much closer to our everyday comprehension and experience. Nikon's annual Small World Photomicrography Competition highlights some of the best examples of it - not discernible to the naked eye and still not in the realm of the abstract yet.
In recent years, interest in nanotechnology exploded across research communities and industries as varied as pharmacology, material science, life sciences, ICT, transportation, even defense and space exploration. The global nanomaterials market of 11 million tons is currently valued at €20bn, employing 300,000-400,000 people in Europe alone. Nano-enabled products reached €200bn worldwide in 2009, expecting to reach €2 trillion by 2015.
Emergence and exponential growth of a disruptive technology call for a systematized approach by the government, assessing national situation, product potential, and growth prospects through a national nanotechnology strategy policy. The Royal Society report of 2004, the 2002 and 2010 Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) reports, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 2006 and the 2010 Nanotechnology Mini-Innovation and Growth Team (Mini-IGT) report, as well as the Technology Strategy Board’s Strategy 2009-2012 tried to address these issues, as did EU bodies. But already by 2015, their recommendations and assessment seem outdated and in need of reformulation. This overview presents current views on nanotechnology in the UK along with issues to be considered in formulating national nanotechnology strategy.