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India: Nanotech, Leapfrogging, and Irreverent Science

Nanotechnology has all of the earmarks of being a key leapfrog pathway. Advances rely more on brainpower than industrial might, and the economic potential of molecular manufacturing -- a form of nanotech that has not yet arrived, but is getting closer rapidly -- is astounding. It's no surprise, then, that not only are developing nations putting money into nanotechnology research, they're doing it with an eye towards longer-term payoffs, not simply nanomaterial production. New Kerala has an article about Indian Minister of Science and Technology Kapil Sibal's announcement of a new nanotechnology "mission" for the Indian government. India has already invested Rs 50 crore (about $11.5 million, if I got my Indian number translation correct) in a new Centre of Nano Bio-technology, located in Chandigarh.

Sibal's statement accompanying the nanotechnology mission announcement is worth quoting in full:

"While the scientific community will make efforts to provide solutions in resolving issues. I hope to provide the necessary enabling environment for you.

"For the scientific community I pledge to do the following. Bring autonomy in their functioning, for only those who are irreverent of the past in the scientific sense, will guide the future.

"Invest in Human Resource Development and expand the skilled human resource base to meet the needs of technology for industry, academia and research and development institutions.

"Provide a suitable regulatory mechanism for an effective bio-technology policy.

"Strengthen the management system for intellectual property rights including awareness, modernization of the patent office; providing for an effective system of enforcement of such rights and helping educational institutions and small industries in protecting their intellectual property.

"Provide for an effective public private partnership in R&D and technology based industries.

"Set National Missions in nano-technology, transport intelligence systems, technology development for judicial re-engineering. Eradication of malnutrition and discovery of curative and preventive medicine for malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis."

That sounds like laying the groundwork for one hell of a leap.

(Via Howard Lovy's Nanobot)


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