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Nanotechnologies are capable of introducing promising applications that could impact upon our daily lives; it is through the visualisation and control of matter at the scale of a billionth of a metre that allows nanotechnologies to modify and enhance the properties of products across all industry sectors. Even though nanotechnologies have immense potential, they are only in their infancy and have yet to reach full maturity. When considering the changes they could bring, it must be asked: are nanotechnologies going to reduce the rich-poor divide, or will they have the opposite effect?
In light of debates that make nanotechnologies responsible for a further widening of the aforementioned divide, the Nanotechnology Industries Association (NIA) has published a report analysing this Nano-Gap, or Nano-Divide, by examining the pros and cons of nanotechnologies and their impact global development and the on-going fight against poverty.
Entitled Closing the Gap: The Impact of Nanotechnologies on the Global Divide, this report looks at how nanotechnology-based inventions and their potential applications could be implemented in developing counties, and whether they could benefit the most underprivileged populations. Obstacles and problematic issues that could arise are also scrutinised, with the following more fully addressed:
• Will nanotechnologies reach the populations they wish to assist?
• What impact could they have on world trade and already weak economies?
• What of the unprecedented nature and uncertainties surrounding the risks of nanotechnology?
• Will inventors from the developing world have to circumvent challenging intellectual property rules in order to make full use of the technology?
This subsequently leads the report into looking at the possible ways forward for the fair development of nanotechnologies. Finally, the report looks at the possibilities for scientists and entrepreneurs from low- and middle-income countries to scale-up the benefits for their countries with the help of international cooperation and global dialogue.
About Nanotechnology Industries Association (NIA)
Established in 2005 the Nanotechnology Industries Association (NIA) is the only global industry-focused trade association for nanotechnologies. With branches across Europe and the head office in Brussels, NIA collaborates with regulators and stakeholders on the national, European and international levels so as to secure a publicly and regulatory supportive environment for the continuing advancement and establishment of nanotechnologies.
NIA’s capacity to operate globally places it and its Members in a unique position to sustainably advance the commercial interests of the nanotechnology industries.
NIA’s membership consists of both established and up-and-coming companies from a wide variety of industrial sectors. Members of the NIA benefit from it acting on their behalf in globally influential fora, such as the OECD’s Working Party on Manufactured Nanomaterials and ISO Technical Committee on Nanotechnologies TC 229, and by receiving science- and technology-based expertise through exclusive documents, alerts and articles about contemporary nano developments and events.
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