Nanotechnologies key to Polish economic success, experts say
Nanosciences and nanotechnologies have a key role to play in determining Poland's position in the global, competitive economy, according to the country's new strategy for research and development in the nano field.
'Nanosciences and nanotechnologies will be the most important factor in the development of the economy in the next 20 years,' the Interdisciplinary Committee for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology writes. It adds that realising the goals of the strategy will require 'a multidisciplinary approach, as well as the cooperation of the government, scientific institutions and industry'.
According to the 14 experts who make up the Committee, there are solid foundations for the development of nanosciences and nanotechnologies in Poland, notably in the areas of 'nanomaterials and composites' and 'nanoscale phenomena and processes'.
The Committee calls for ongoing support for these areas as well as for research into nanostructures; nanoscale devices; nanoanalytics and nanometrology; and manufacturing processes and devices for nanotechnology. These priorities are compatible with European priorities, the Committee states.
The authors note that attaining international levels of excellence in these research fields is a prerequisite for the effective development of Polish nanosciences and nanotechnologies in general and for boosting levels of innovation in the wider Polish economy.
However, achieving excellence in these fields requires the best people, and the experts describe human resources as 'the acknowledged foundation of the strategy'. Actions to make Poland attractive to leading nanotechnology experts include scholarships for the best students and post docs, social support and lectures in English. The experts also propose the establishment of special grants for early career scientists, and recommend that nanosciences be included in more university courses.
Other recommendations in the report include the launch of a virtual network of institutes working on nanotechnologies and greater investments in infrastructure. The importance of boosting collaboration between the research sector and industry is also highlighted. Here suggestions include the design of a database which would provide constantly updated information on the needs of the industry and a 'radical' improvement of the patent system.
The social aspect of the nanosciences is not neglected by the experts, who state that, 'Polish representatives should be present in European scientific committees in the field of consumer safety, public health, environmental protection and ethics'. Furthermore, an information campaign on the opportunities and threats of nanotechnology development should be launched.
Looking to the future, the Committee recommends that the strategy be updated regularly to reflect new economic challenges and changing social conditions.
'Its implementation should contribute to the creation of an advanced, knowledge-based society and ensure that Poland holds a significant position among the countries investing in nanosciences at the global scale and winning considerable economic profits from the applications of nanotechnology solutions,' the experts conclude.
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Document Reference: Based on the report, 'Strategy for the reinforcement of Polish research and development area in the field of nanosciences and nanotechnologies' by the Interdisciplinary Committee for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology.
Subject Index: Coordination, Cooperation; Materials Technology; Scientific Research; Other Technology