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June 28th, 2007
Nanoforum, the thematic network funded by the EU under the Fifth Framework Programme (FP5), has identified three key challenges for the development of nanotechnology in Europe: a low level of venture capital investment, low patenting rates, and low investment from industry
According to the Nanoforum report, the first priority is to increase the very low proportion (only 3.5%) of global nanotechnology venture capital invested in Europe.
Despite public funding being on a par with that of the US, Europe, it seems, is also lagging behind in the number of nanotechnology patents granted. Industrial investment in nanotechnology is also only half that in the US and Japan.
For the authors of the report, the low level of venture capital is largely due to a shortage of suitable investment targets. Companies lack focused business models, commercial experience, and exit strategies. Whilst public funding sources may take the place of venture capital, the concern is that companies will then miss out on the other benefits that investors would bring, such as in-depth industry awareness and networks.
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