Nanotechnology, being a platform technology, feeds its output into numerous industries, which use these inputs to improve their products. In this context, it would be appropriate to refer to BASF, whose slogan is “we do not create products, we make them better”.
Consequently, any effort to commercialize this technology has to be supported by
scientific and engineering research in conjunction with an innovative well-funded product
development and marketing program involving all downstream industries that are going to utilize nanotechnology products. There is no doubt about the potential of nanotechnology to impact numerous facets of human life and society, and the incentive for expeditious commercialization of this technology is strong. However, considerations and factors, such as long time between nanotechnology research and development of commercial products, large capital investment needed for a viable commercial venture, and financial/operational risks associated with commercial applications of nanotechnology, have impeded rapid adoption of this technology in the commercial domain. Substantial government funding, and involvement of academic institutions and research laboratories, are viewed as an essential response to these barriers. It is critical for the U.S. nanotechnology industry to speed up the process of commercialization, if we are to maintain a competitive position in the global nanotechnology market. Two progressive institutions of higher learning, The Pennsylvania State University and The University at Albany in New York state, have made very significant contributions in the arena of nanotechnology commercialization. This has been accomplished through education/training programs for workforce development, and through partnerships with large and small industrial organizations for conducting R & D, and commercialization programs. In this presentation, the two leading consortia involving these universities, namely Albany Nanotech/ Tech Valley and Nanofab, are profiled as role models for other educational institutions seriously interested in nanotechnology R & D and commercialization projects.