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India drafts nanotech policy to keep up with rivals

Posted: 03 Jan 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:India nanotechnology policy? nanoscience? R&D?

India has formed the Vision Group consisting of about a dozen researchers from academia, industry and research spheres to develop a national nanotechnology policy.

Impetus for developing a plan stems from fears that India has fallen behind China, Japan, the United States and the United Kingdom, which all have launched nanotechnology programs over the past several years and are investing heavily in R&D.

The Vision Group will be headed by C.N.R. Rao, nanotechnology researcher, national research professor, and chairman of India's Science Advisory Council.

According to M.N. Vidyashankar, an official with the state government of Karnataka, the Vision Group includes India's best nanotechnology researchers. He gave no timeframe for completing the policy.

"India is not too far behind the world in nanoscience. In nanotechnology activities, especially in private sector, the differential between India and the developed nations is closer to five to seven years," said V. Srivastava, co-founder of QTech Nanosystems, based in India.

Srivastava added that India is a leader in technologies like nano-fluid sensors. India has about 30 nanotechnology startups and about 50 research institutes, Srivastava estimated, adding that India needs a dedicated venture capital fund for nanotechnology initiatives.

India has established several nanotechnology programs under its five-year nanotechnology initiative. The government recently announced a $250 million program that includes three national institutes for nanoscience. Two centers of excellence in nanotechnology are being set up here and in Mumbai with fabrication capabilities.

India has also launched a national program focusing on micro and smart systems and a network program on nanoscience overseen by government-owned R&D agencies.

- K.C. Krishnadas
EE Times

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