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Mid-Atlantic Region a national leader in nanotechnology research, innovation and commercial strength
Getting small has its advantages in the Mid-Atlantic Region
Posted on November 07, 2005
Working together on small matter has the potential for huge returns in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic Region. In fact, early findings rank the Mid-Atlantic Region as a national leader in nanotechnology research, innovation and commercial strength.
According to early results of an asset study commissioned by the Mid-Atlantic Nanotechnology Alliance (MANA), the Mid-Atlantic Region is very active in nanotechnology innovation, ranking 2nd among all states in nano-related patents, as well as in research, standing 3rd in National Science Foundation (NSF) nano-related grants, and 4th in National Institute of Health (NIH) nano-related grants.
With nanotechnology poised to change the world, recent studies indicate that the combined alliance between New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware positions the tri-state coalition for large advances in a technology that deals with materials at their smallest level.
For example, the Mid-Atlantic Region is home to:
- DuPont, a giant in nanotech development advancing nano-related applications for use in flat panel displays, medical diagnostics and high performance materials;
- Nanonex, a spin-off of Princeton University and a leader in advancing semi-conductor developments through nano-technology; and
- Elan Corporation, a leader in applying nanoparticles to advance the effectiveness of drugs.
Nanotechnology is relatively new but some manufacturers are already using it to block stains in clothing, resist scratches and wear in paints, and make windows self-cleaning. Some researchers are working on even more futuristic applications like tiny robots - nanobots, which can travel through your body combating disease and other aliments.
As a collaborative effort between The New Jersey Commission on Science and Technology, Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania, and the Delaware Technology Park, MANA commissioned the study to further position the region as a global hub for expanded research, development, application, and accelerated commercialization of nanotechnology.
Formed in 2004 with support from the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration, MANA represents the nation's first multi-state initiative. The asset study directed by MANA is part of a three-phase approach to define a strategic roadmap that will ultimately leverage the region's assets, strengths and capabilities.
"From these early indications, MANA is demonstrating there are definite advantages in collaborating and sharing resources," explained Bob Gittler, MANA coordinator and manager of Economic Research with Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania.
"When you combine all of the NSF and NIH nano-related grants awarded to universities in the MANA tri-state area, the Mid-Atlantic Region ranks 3rd and 4th respectively," said Mitch Horowitz, of Battelle, a leading technology-based economic development, consulting firm conducting the MANA study.
"Comparing the Mid-Atlantic Region to other states makes sense since the region already functions as a major economic area combining research, finance and business across state boundaries." Horowitz added.
Horowitz explained that the inventory and assessment portion of the study included a review of funding for research. It also included appropriations granted for interdisciplinary, exploratory and industry-specific research.
"Universities in the Mid-Atlantic Region garner significant support for nano research," Horowitz reported, "with 421 nano-related NSF grants and 83 nano-related NIH grants coming to the MANA tri-state area."
The study also points out some additional unique strengths within the MANA territory, including:
- The region has two out of 24 highly competitive National Nanotechnology Institute (NNI) federally funded centers - the Molecular Function at NanoBio Interface, at the University of Pennsylvania; and the Bio-Inspection, Design & Processing of Multifunctional Nanocomposites, at Princeton University.
- Pennsylvania State University's Center for Nanotechnology Education and Utilization is a key element of the NSF national nanofabrication infrastructure network.
- There are three significant NSF Materials Research Science & Engineering Centers in the region: Princeton Center for Complex Materials, at Princeton University; the Laboratory for Research on the Structure of Matter, at the University of Pennsylvania; and the Center for Nano Science, at Pennsylvania State University.
Additional findings of the MANA strategic roadmap study will be discussed at upcoming regional events, including a joint MANA and New Castle County Economic Development Council sponsored program scheduled for November 30 in Wilmington, Delaware.
Hosted by Wilmington-based pharmaceutical giant, AstraZeneca, and moderated by Delaware Technology Park Director Mike Bowman, the program will include discussions by a panel of experts and an overview of nano-related strengths and opportunities in Delaware and the Mid-Atlantic Region.
Similar programs are planned for the beginning of 2006 and will be sponsored by MANA partners The New Jersey Commission on Science and Technology and Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania.
About the Mid-Atlantic Nanotechnology Alliance (MANA):
The Mid-Atlantic Nanotechnology Alliance (MANA) is a collaborative effort between The New Jersey Commission on Science and Technology, Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania, and the Delaware Technology Park. Launched in 2004 with support from the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration, MANA's mission is to position the tri-state area as a global hub for expanded research, development, application, and commercialization of nanotechnology.
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