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Report Highlights Importance of Nanotechnology to State's Economy

Nanotechnology in MA

Westborough, MA (March 8, 2004) - The Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (MTC) and the Nano Science & Technology Institute (NSTI) today released a new report on nanotechnology and its implications for the Massachusetts high tech economy. The report highlights major challenges and opportunities for the state's high tech entrepreneurs, companies and universities in nano-scale research and development. Nanotechnology is the science of designing and building on the atomic or molecular level. A nanometer is one billionth of a meter-80,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair.

The report shows that Massachusetts is experiencing a surge in nanoscale technology R&D and economic development. As of February 2004, there are close to 100 companies using or developing nanoscale technologies in Massachusetts . More than half these firms are located within the Healthcare and Electronics industries, which reflect the Commonwealth's historic strengths in both the Life Sciences and Computer Hardware and Software industry clusters.

``There is strong competition among states and other countries to make technological breakthroughs and find ways to cost effectively manufacture and commercialize a vast array of new products using nanotechnology,'' said Adams. ``With high tech job creation and billions of dollars in research & development investments at stake, Massachusetts is well positioned to capture the economic benefits offered by new applications employing nanotechnology.''

Another bright spot for Massachusetts is that the state's venture capital community is strongly investing in companies that are using or developing nanoscale technologies. In 2003, Massachusetts firms that are using or developing nanoscale technologies attracted more than $120 million, second only to California ($480 million).

Massachusetts universities continue to lead the country in nanoscale technologies research and development. Nine of the state's universities are involved in nanotechnology R&D, including Harvard University , the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and the University of Massachusetts (Amherst , Dartmouth , and Lowell campuses). Two of the nine National Nanotechnology Initiative ``Centers and Networks of Excellence'' are located at Massachusetts universities (Harvard University and MIT). These networks provide opportunities for interdisciplinary research and collaboration.

Although Massachusetts is among the leaders in nanotechnology research, there is increasing competition from other states and countries. States are contending for federal research dollars, and other countries are investing billions into nanotechnology R&D.

•  U.S. Federal government spending on nanotechnology research funding will be approximately $3.7 billion over four years (authorized).

•  Japan and the European Union (EU) each have similar research and commercialization federal spending to the U.S.

The report also highlights nine major industries where nanotechnology has the potential to have a disruptive impact: Materials, Instrumentation, Electronics, Healthcare, Defense, Sensors, Energy, Manufacturing and Environment.

Nanotechnology products or embedded enabling technologies are permeating most every industrial sector. Products currently using nanotechnology science include: advanced computer chips, clothing, tennis balls, foods, ski wax, digital cameras, automotive plastics, chemical sensors, drugs, and medical therapies.

Recognizing the importance of nanotechnology to the state's innovation economy, MTC launched the Massachusetts Nanotechnology Initiative in January 2003 to achieve four economic development objectives:

  • Promote Massachusetts-based companies that utilize nanotechnology
  • Expand industry/university relationships to facilitate technology transfer
  • Engage policy makers, state and federal officials on emerging opportunities in nanotechnology
  • Create opportunities for new and early stage companies to network with venture capitalists and established industry leaders.

MTC sponsored a nanotechnology venture forum in November 2003 at the Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation at MIT. The forum featured investment presentations from early-stage nanotechnology companies, and presentations on ‘innovations in progress'' within local university laboratories that have significant potential for commercial application.

The Nano Science & Technology Institute (NSTI) is an interdisciplinary consultancy, chartered with the promotion and integration of small technologies through education, technology and business development. NSTI provides technical and informational services to industrial and governmental organizations worldwide. NSTI is the founder and sponsor of the world's most comprehensive small technology scientific and business event, the annual Nanotechnology Conference and Trade Show. NSTI was founded in 1997 and is headquartered in Cambridge , MA (

MTC is the state's economic development agency for renewable energy and the innovation economy. The agency works as a catalyst to strengthen the state's high-tech industry clusters and specializes in assembling professionals from industry, academia and government to create new economic opportunity for Massachusetts . For more information, please visit the agency's website at

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