Europe spends nearly twice as much as US on nanotech risk research

Apr 21, 2008

A new analysis by the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies (PEN) indicates that European nations are investing nearly twice as much as the U.S. in research primarily aimed at addressing the potential risks of nanotechnology. The analysis also highlights a substantial over-inflation of the federal government’s nanotechnology risk-research investment figures for the U.S.

The new PEN assessment of nanotechnology risk-relevant projects identified by the federal government’s National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) for fiscal year 2006 found that only $13 million was invested in projects highly relevant to addressing possible risks.

Over the same time period, the PEN analysis found European countries invested nearly $24 million in projects with the primary aim of addressing nanotechnology risks.

PEN evaluated research projects listed in the NNI research strategy—released in February 2008 but without specifics regarding the annual project budget or the applicability of each project to assessing potential hazards—by their relevance to addressing current and future nanotechnology risks. Research was classified according to whether it was highly relevant to addressing potential environment, health or safety hazards, substantially relevant, having some relevance, or was only marginally relevant.

By collecting individual project budget data from publicly available sources, an estimate was made of funding levels for 2006. The assessment found 62 federally-funded projects that were highly relevant to understanding nanotechnology risk, with an estimated annual budget of $13 million.

In contrast, the federal government estimates $37.7 million was invested in highly relevant research in fiscal year 2006. According to PEN Chief Science Advisor Andrew Maynard, “It appears the U.S. is guilty of wishful thinking in its assessment of research that will lead to the development of safe nanotechnologies. It is trying to substitute research that might inform science’s general understanding of possible nanotechnology risks for research that is focused on getting answers to direct questions being asked today—what makes a nanomaterial potentially harmful, how can it be used safely, and what happens when it is eventually disposed" Both the U.S. government figure and the results of the PEN assessment show that less than 3 percent of the $1.4 billion federal nanotechnology research budget was spent on environment, health and safety research.”

Draft legislation proposed by U.S. House of Representatives Science Committee Chair Bart Gordon (D-TN) would amend the NNI act to include a minimum 10 percent mandate for the nanotechnology federal research and development budget devoted to EHS research in the future, amounting to approximately $150 million annually.

Source: Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies

Explore further: Innovative strategy to facilitate organ repair

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Spotlight on nanoparticles' imperceptible effects

Sep 24, 2013

From the clothes and make-up we wear to the electronic devices we use every day, nanotechnology is becoming ubiquitous. But while industry has mastered the production of such materials, little is known about ...

Nanoparticles and the immune system

Feb 13, 2013

(Phys.org)—Nanotechnology is such a new innovation that no one is really sure what will come of it. Predictions range from the ability to reproduce things like diamonds and food, to the world being devoured ...

Recommended for you

Innovative strategy to facilitate organ repair

Apr 18, 2014

A significant breakthrough could revolutionize surgical practice and regenerative medicine. A team led by Ludwik Leibler from the Laboratoire Matière Molle et Chimie (CNRS/ESPCI Paris Tech) and Didier Letourneur ...

Physicists create new nanoparticle for cancer therapy

Apr 16, 2014

A University of Texas at Arlington physicist working to create a luminescent nanoparticle to use in security-related radiation detection may have instead happened upon an advance in photodynamic cancer therapy.

User comments : 0

More news stories

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...