Nanotechnology and Massachusetts Universities

Nanotechnology and Massachusetts Universities -...

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Massachusetts TECHNOLOGY Collaborative and The Nano Science and Technology Institute 12 Nanotechnology and Massachusetts Universities Universities have played a vital role in the Massachusetts economy for decades, by training generations of highly-skilled people and by spin- ning off successive waves of innovative technology into industry. A 1994 study by the then-Bank of Boston found that MIT-related firms alone accounted for 10 percent of the entire economy of Massachu- setts. 1 Academic researchers and academic research have been criti- cal catalysts in the birth and growth of the region’s biotechnology industry. Now, at the earliest stages of nanotechnology, universities seem destined to play a similar, perhaps even more dominant role, for two reasons: Universities in Massachusetts Bring Broad and Deep Strengths in Relevant Science and Engineering Disciplines to the Global Competition for Nanotechnology Development The sheer breadth and depth of the state’s academic research com- munity positions Massachusetts well for leadership in nanotechnolo- gy. As the sections of this report attest,‘nanotechnology’ is neither a single technology nor a technology with a singular application. Much of the potentially revolutionary work in nanotechnology is driven by advances in fundamental sciences such as physics and chemistry, while many of the most innovative applications of nanotechnology will come about by interdisciplinary research that joins physicists, chemists, and materials scientists with engineers and life scientists. As a whole, the state’s academic community is well represented across all disciplines, and has world-class strengths in many of them. Universities throughout the U.S. Play an Increasingly Important Role in Technology Development within the U.S. Economy The entire system of technological innovation in the U.S. is undergo- ing significant change in which universities seem destined to play a larger role than ever before. Many major corporations that once financed significant, long-term research and development have cut back their commitments and are now more likely to invest in development than in research. Corporations are focused on short-term innovations (what one IBM executive has described as ‘on demand innovation’) that meet immediate customer needs and promise a short-term return on investment. 2 The job of developing innovations with radical, long- term consequence—a job that frequently necessitates years of costly investigation—now falls even more heavily on academic research institutions. This is not an entirely new phenomenon. From its inception, the biotechnology industry has been formed around entrepreneurial start-up firms spun-off from university-based research. The pattern can now be detected in the growing number of Massachusetts companies focused on nanoscale technologies that are based on intellectual property developed by scientists who remain active faculty members at area universities. The Strengths of Massachusetts Universities
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This note was uploaded on 01/12/2011 for the course ME 305 taught by Professor Wright,j during the Spring '10 term at Birla Institute of Technology & Science, Pilani - Hyderabad.

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Nanotechnology and Massachusetts Universities -...

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