The amount of government investment in nanotechnology and innovation does not necessarily influence the amount of new technologies being developed and completed, according to global statistics gathered by Nano Statistics.
Similarly, Malaysia ranked third in the amount of government investment, but ranked 37th in the world, with only one patent having been granted.
Japan is the exception, within the top three countries. Its nanotechnology sector received the second highest amount of government investment globally and rank 4th in the amount of patents granted.
Australia’s global standings in nanotechnology have consistently fallen over the past five years. It is now ranked 12th due to the fewer nanotechnology projects being started and the subsequent reduced government investment.
The Australian Government and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) are taking action to improve Australia’s standings, including the area of nanotechnology and IT in their new National Innovation and Science Agenda and the CSIRO Innovation Fund. Both build on the National Nanotechnology Research Strategy 2012-2020.
The Innovation Fund supports the early stage of commericalisation of innovation from CSIRO, universities and other publically funded research bodies. The Fund implemented this year will have $70 million of government funding and any new revenue from CSIRO’s WLAN licensing, and aims to have matching investment in the fund from the private sector, resulting in a total investment pool of $200 million.
CSIRO postdoctoral fellow and 2006 ARCNN Young Nanotechnology Ambassador Award recipient Kelly Bailey said there is currently an adequate amount of government investment in new innovation projects.
“Whilst we do receive a fair share of government funding, it really comes down to getting support from private institutions and working with universities both in Australia and on a global scale…as to share the cost burden around,” she said.
Despite a fall in rankings, Australia has continued to release new pieces of nanotechnology, including nanomedicine that detect and fight cancer in January this year, and the new Biopen that ‘draws’ human stem cells developed by researchers at the University of Wollongong.
“We are now living in a nanotechnology and nanoscience-driven economy, and want Australia to lead the way,” Ms Bailey said.