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Bangalore Nano conference 2007 was well attended by both industry and academia, highlighting the growing spirit of collaboration and inter-dependencies of these two hitherto mutually exclusive communities. Special sessions like "Research Industry Collaboration Hub" were held to help bridge the gap. World class opportunities in the sector, though, remain limited, highlighting the quantity versus quality issue.
December 26th, 2007
Bangalore Nano Conference - Dec 6th and 7th, 2007
Mark your diaries for Dec 8-11, 2008 for the second edition of Bangalore Nano conference. The first edition of Bangalore Nano 2007 held between Dec 6th and 7th received a massive turnout of over 600 visitors and over a score of companies interested in nanotechnology. Having been involved in the nanotech industry for the last 4 years, this event was by far the most important event in this nascent industry.
The conference was attended by equipment suppliers (CVD synthesis equipments, microscopes, nanopositioning devices), producers of nanomaterials (e.g. carbon nanotubes, nano-clay, water soluble nano-gold and silver, nano-coatings), end user industry (pharmaceuticals, dendrimer polymers, water purification) and nano-enabled products companies (sensors, smart cards, self cleaning systems). Public funding agencies and trade associations also participated in the conference highlighting the growing interest in this new area across the spectrum on Indian industry.
The theme of the conference was "Bridging the Research-Industry Gap in Nanotechnology". This indeed is a huge concern area in the Indian context where, traditionally, pursuit of Lakshmi (Goddess of wealth) is frowned upon by disciples of Saraswati (Goddess of knowledge). The forces of globalization and need to survive in increasingly competitive marketplace is, however, forcing a change in this equation and the dynamics are slowly changing and business incubation centers and technology transfer cells are being set up inside the university campuses to bridge this gap.
So one may ask, what were the principals of the industry talking about from the common platform? The single most dominant theme coming out of the conference was the need for "collaboration". Besides the usual promise of nanotech enabled products, what everybody today understands is the need for collaboration across industries in basic R&D, joint product development, marketing and distribution. An interesting point to note in this regard is that it is not just the small start up companies that are seeking partnerships to establish themselves, but large businesses too are on the lookout for technologies and nanomaterials to help improve their existing products and develop new products. The pressures of global competition and shrinking life cycle of technology is forcing businesses to adopt a new approach to technology development and management. Against this backdrop, it is heartening to see a nano-ecosystem developing in this country.
This theme of collaboration was showcased in a special session called Research-Industry Collaboration Hub (R.I.C.H.). This platform allowed representative from various companies and researchers to have a one-to-one dialogue on opportunities to work together. Being the first session of its kind, the session suffered from some inadequacies but the effort nevertheless is laudable. Through these columns, I would like to express my gratitude to the organizers for making the session possible and provided me an opportunity to get a close look at some of the interesting and promising work being carried out in India in nano-tech domain. 10 young companies participated in this session, mostly from Bangalore and adjoining regions. Out of these, most of the companies suffer from inherent weaknesses which would limit their ability to grow beyond a particular size and indeed may limit their survival potential. However, there were a couple of companies that caught my eye for the quality of their management and market readiness of their technologies. It would be interesting to watch how these companies fare over the next year or so and I shall keep you folks updated on how these companies grow.
On a more personal note, I am currently exploring the role of spirituality in our lives. Being a scientist and technologist, I have been aware of the ongoing ethical debate particularly as it relates to GM technologies and nanotechnologies, but never thought deeply about these issues. However as my attention turns over to these aspects, what I found conspicuous by its absence, was any discussion on ethical issues as they relate to development of nanotechnology. I suspect that India, the land of spirituality and rich philosophical traditions, has a potential to make a marked contribution to this debate and make its contribution in addressing some of the very important ethical issues surrounding GM and nanotechnologies.
Wishing you all a happy and healthy holiday season!!
Please send your feedback, ideas, and suggestions to Vivek Srivastava at .
Vivek hold a Ph. D. in materials science and has published over a dozen papers in international journals and contributed to international conferences and seminars. He has interests in commercialization of nanotechnology & new ventures with innovative business models to exploit the advantages India offers. He consults existing businesses to grow and expand in new technology areas, and serves as mentor to budding entrepreneurs. His current research interest are "severe plastic deformation methods for production of bulk nanomaterials" and "Role of industry dynamics on making R&D funding decisions".