ARCHIVED - President's Insight
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June 08, 2008— Ottawa, Ontario
Research at the nano-scale
Nanotechnology is the application of science and engineering at the atomic scale. It facilitates the construction of new materials and devices by manipulating individual atoms and molecules – the building blocks of nature. Although still in its infancy, the worldwide market for nano-goods and services has the potential of reaching US$1.5 trillion annually by 2015 and could alter the way we make everything from transistors to skyscrapers.
NRC has been involved in nanotechnology for decades and has continually increased its involvement. Over seven years ago, NRC established a $120 million state-of-the-art nanotechnology research facility in partnership with the University of Alberta and the governments of Canada and Alberta. As a result, the National Institute for Nanotechnology, which is located in the heart of Edmonton, allows private and public stakeholders to co-locate and collaborate on innovative nanotechnology research.
In addition to NRC's current commitment in nanotechnology, which accounts for more than $30 million a year and supports over 320 researchers engaged in nanotechnology across the country, NRC recently selected three nanotechnology projects involving six different institutes through an internal funding competition. These projects will capitalize on NRC's multidisciplinary expertise to advance research in health, energy and metrology.
To further enhance Canada's research and development capacity in this significant area, NRC worked in partnership with the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) to develop an external competition to select multi-stakeholder nanotechnology research projects. In late April, the Government of Canada announced the five selected projects that will receive $3 million in funding over three years. (Please see: "New funding for nanotech applications"). These pioneering undertakings will bring together researchers from NRC, several Canadian universities and industry stakeholders to work on nanotechnology research in fields such as the environment, cleaner energy, and information and communication technologies.
Due to its multidisciplinary nature, nanotechnology has made its way into all areas of scientific research, from medicine and biotechnology, to energy and the environment, to computing and telecommunications. Chances are, no matter which field of science you are interested in, nanotechnology research plays a role. That is why NRC continues to invest in this emerging discipline that will benefit Canadians and Canadian businesses for years to come.
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