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  • States Turn to Nanotech for Growth
Feb 2005
NEW YORK, Feb. 1 -- Massachusetts ranked first among states for economic development from nanotechnology in a report from New York-based consulting firm Lux Research, "Benchmarking US States for Economic Development from Nanotechnology."

US states poured more than $400 million into nanotechnology research, facilities and business incubation programs in 2004, on top of more than $1 billion in federal government spending, making nanotech the largest publicly funded science initiative since the space race. But states' efforts vary wildly in scope, effectiveness and impact, according to Lux Research Managing Director F. Mark Modzelewski, who presented the report in a briefing to the US Department of Commerce last week in Washington, D.C.

"Multiple stakeholders -- including state and local officials, federal representatives, large corporations, start-ups, investors and universities -- have a vested interest in making nanotechnology efforts succeed," said Modzelewski. "Biotechnology created more than 400,000 jobs from 1979 to 1999. Nanotechnology promises a far greater economic impact because it can affect not just biologically derived products, but all manufactured goods. Also, it's not just new jobs that are at risk from nanotech; existing ones in industries impacted by nanoscale science are on the line as well."

To rank US states on their ability to develop their economies through nanotechnology, Lux Research constructed a quantitative assessment tool that ranked all 50 states on 16 criteria.

"Leading states have three things in common," Modzelewski said. "First, they involve all relevant stakeholders in developing nanotechnology initiatives rather than leaving the effort to universities. Illinois Governor Blagojevich's administration has done a particularly strong job in partnership with the Daly administration in Chicago, corporations, start-ups, the universities, nonprofits and investors.

"Second, they focus on commercialization from the outset -- as California did when it recruited entrepreneur Derrick Boston to lead the commercialization effort for the California NanoSystems Institute. Third, they play to strengths. For example, Arizona exploited assets donated by Motorola to develop nanotech efforts in electronics, where it already has a concentration of research activity."

After Massachusetts, the report said California, Colorado, Virginia, New Mexico and New Jersy, followed by Connecticut and Maryland (tied), were the top states for economic development from nanotechnology initiatives. Alaska, Arkansas, Hawaii and Mississippi were tied for 47th.

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The use of atoms, molecules and molecular-scale structures to enhance existing technology and develop new materials and devices. The goal of this technology is to manipulate atomic and molecular particles to create devices that are thousands of times smaller and faster than those of the current microtechnologies.
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