Both Europe and Russia have invested significant amounts of funding in the development of nanoscience potential. The EU-funded NANORUCER (Mapping the nanotechnology innovation system of Russia for preparing future cooperations between the EU and Russia) project set out to build on such efforts. A performance analysis provided an overview of the current status of nanotechnology research activities in Russia compared to the EU and to other parts of the world. Findings reveal that Russia is an important player in the global scientific nanotechnology community, with a clear specialisation in nano-optics and nanophysics. Most of the larger European countries focus on these areas, and opportunities for cooperation exist in these fields. Project partners mapped Russian sectoral innovation systems (SISs) in nanotechnology. Key agents were identified and characterised. This analysis shows a high level of education, particularly in mathematics, physics, chemistry and material sciences, a broad science base in nanotechnology research based on physical sciences, over 700 R&D organisations with relevant activities in nanotechnology, scientific infrastructures for nanotechnology, and growing political support for nanotechnology. The SISs analysis also reveals a strong imbalance between R&D activities and innovation activities. The private sector contributes little to knowledge generation and innovation, and collaboration between science and industry is weak. Strengths of the European SISs in nanotechnology include public funding, availability of research structures, a research base in nano-optics, nanophysics, nanobiotechnology and nanomedicine, well-developed institutional frameworks concerning environment, health and safety issues, and strong industrial sectors that are relevant for nanotechnology application. Main weaknesses include low private investment, particularly venture capital, and a fragmentation of R&D and innovation activities and support. One of the foreseen issues will be a lack of highly qualified personnel. Two searchable public databases containing R&D organisations and enterprises were established. They include over 410 nanotech company entries. NANORUCER has provided insight into key areas for collaboration as well as repositories of relevant R&D entities to foster that collaboration. Enhanced cooperation will lead to important and rapid advances in nanotechnology.
Nanotechnology, NANORUCER, nano-optics, nanophysics, sectoral innovation systems