National Innovation Strategies in the Global Economy
Edited by Göran Marklund, Nicholas S. Vonortas and Charles W. Wessner
Chapter 9: Globalization of Converging Nanotechnologies
Evan S. Michelson 9.1 INTRODUCTION: CONVERGENCE AT THE NANOSCALE1 While the hybridization of contemporary science and technology (S&T) innovation is occurring on a global level and is becoming evident across a range of industrial sectors, one of the best examples of this trend is in the nascent ﬁeld of nanotechnology – the ability to see and manipulate matter at the nanoscale. Though the current, formative stage of nanotechnology research and development (R&D) has been compared to that of the computer industry of the 1960s or the biotechnology industry of the 1980s, the very fact that these technological advancements emerged beforehand has moved nanotechnology along a path that is more closely connected with such branches of technology. Because of its close relationship to multiple disciplines, a number of S&T forecasts have begun to identify nanotechnology as the leading edge of a new worldwide trend – termed converging technologies – that is meant to indicate the growing interaction and blurring of the lines between nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology (IT) and neuroscience. The concept underlying converging technologies at the nanoscale is that as these and other scientiﬁc disciplines and their associated technologies have begun to emerge, progress and mature over the past few years, there has been an increasing tendency for such strands of thinking to intersect with and cross-pollinate one another, thereby creating the potential for great improvement in the quality of the human life around the world. However, the impacts of this new technological fusion are not simply limited to...
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