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January 6th, 2010
Nanotechnology may spark next New England manufacturing revolution
The tiny parts used in nanotechnology-based manufacturing have the potential to bring a big boost in jobs to the Bay State, sparking a manufacturing renaissance that brings to mind the heyday of the textile industry.
Some companies already are hiring for nanomanufacturing jobs, and if the industry explodes in the way experts suggest it might, there may not be enough qualified workers to fill all the potential jobs.
Some experts, however, say that the jobs will not be as technically challenging as, say, pharmaceutical production, and a number of local universities and groups are working to make sure that turns out to be true, by developing standardized manufacturing processes.
New England is at the spear point of nanotech research. The National Science Foundation has funded 19 nanoscale science and engineering centers around the country, and four of those focus specifically on nanomanufacturing. Two of those are right in New England. One is a consortium made up of the University of Massachusetts Lowell, Northeastern University and the University of New Hampshire. The other is based at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and is run by Mark Tuominen, a professor in the department of physics, and director of the National Nanomanufacturing Network.
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