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Big Plans for Nanotechnology in Russia

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MOSCOW, RUSSIA. “As has often happened in Russia, we have had the priority in scientific invention, but completely lose the market,” Anatoly Chubais, chief executive of the Russian Corporation of Nanotechnologies, Rusnano[], told members of the Scientific American international editions during a visit today. The state-owned venture-capital company aims to change that, intending to grow Russian-made nanotechnology products, now just 2 percent of the international market, into large-scale domestic industry by 2015 .

He added that Russia intends to move from a “minor league” player in global nanotechnology efforts into the “major league” with a total of $30 billion per year in annual sales in five years.

The main focus initially is to add manufacturing capability for various nanotechnologies. Since the initiative was announced in 2007, Rusnano has received more that 2,000 proposals; it has approved 111 projects to date in the categories of medicine and pharmaceuticals, energy efficiency and clean technologies, optics and electronics, coatings and surface modification, and nanomaterials.

Representatives from two companies addressed the conference today. Optogan, a Finnish company founded in 2004 that makes chips of indium gallium nitride for efficient LEDs, has built a plant in St. Petersburg. Advanced Technologies Center of Moscow, a 20-year-old company that makes atomic force microscopes, plans to build a new plant to double production of the device.

“Our role is to build this bridge [between science and business] and to start up the Russian nanotechnology industry,” said Chubais.

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  1. 1. davetrindle 12:37 pm 05/31/2011

    I’m all for Russian entrepreneurs. But could somebody please first demonstrate that nano-particles will not destroy our environment? These things do not exist in nature. Don’t you think there’s just a little tiny chance of catastrophic unintended consequences? What would be better is if the Russians would demonstrate their prowess in environmental protection (some catching up to do since Chernobyl, etc) before proceeding to demonstrate their prowess in linking science to business.

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  2. 2. jgrosay 6:28 pm 05/31/2011

    When the russians rejected the german’s takeover, these guys being the top of engineering and science of his times, they lost the train of advanced science. The ultra conservative and clerical approach to decision making of the soviet times has put them in a scientific and technology retardment they will probably never overcome, unless they reestablish the industrial spionage network of the USSR times. Sorry, their time is gone forever.

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  3. 3. Quinn the Eskimo 12:51 pm 06/1/2011

    Maybe Russia will do for nanotechnology what they did for big oil.

    God save us all.

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  4. 4. mdichristina 5:18 pm 06/3/2011

    Good comments, thanks. Chaubais acknowledged this issue for some types of nanotechnology. But not all nanotech involves tiny particles that evoke fears of "gray goo." The word is very broadly used to refer to anything at the scale of billionths of a meter–it can simply refer to what we otherwise call "chemistry," for instance.

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  5. 5. bucketofsquid 12:27 pm 06/8/2011

    Apparently the cold war still lives on in the minds of the elderly based on the first 3 posts. I applaud anything that may offset the economic monstrosity that China may soon become. Far better that wars be fought with economic investment instead of armies and nukes.

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