21 March 2012

Nanotechnology: results of the first five-year plan

Nanotechnology is rigidly screened out. In five years, only 5% of applications were approved

Evgenia Noskova, Russian Business Newspaper, 20.03.2012 (published on the Rusnano website)

The participants of the round table "Nanotechnology: the results of the first five-year plan" came to the conclusion that in five years the word "nanotechnology" in Russia has become familiar in our lexicon and the scientific community has finally reached a consensus on what this concept includes.

Since the start of accepting applications in April 2008, RUSNANO has received more than two thousand applications. All of them were tested, and most of them were rejected at the stage of scientific and technical expertise. For further consideration, the external scientific and technical council of the corporation recommended a total of 277 applications, after investment expertise, 121 projects have been approved today, that is, about 5% of the total number. "Of course, the review procedure is tough. But, it seems to me, society treats this adequately. It is not enough just to select projects, approve them, you need to prepare investment agreements, negotiate with all partners and, finally, start financing projects. Today we are financing 79 investment projects and 11 infrastructure facilities," commented Sergey Kalyuzhny, Director of the Department of Scientific and Technical Expertise of RUSNANO. According to him, the corporation has allocated 102 billion rubles to finance various projects since 2008.

RUSNANO has five priority sectors for investment – first of all, these are nanomaterials, as well as optics and electronics, energy efficiency, medicine and pharmaceuticals, and surface modification. Financing is directed to the construction of new plants, factories, workshops, as well as the modernization and expansion of existing ones. Over the past two years, 16 new plants have been built and opened in 10 regions of Russia, the main segment is the production of nanomaterials. As Sergey Kalyuzhny noted, many new enterprises were launched last autumn. "This is natural, because the construction of new facilities requires the development and approval of project documentation, and only then begins the construction and launch of the enterprise, the purchase of equipment. All this is a rather complicated procedure that takes some time. Therefore, I was surprised when in the fall of 2008 I was asked: what are you doing? We are not magicians, we are engaged in real production, which requires time and a balanced approach," the expert explained.

The information support of the nanoindustry infrastructure is provided by the NP "National Electronic Information Consortium" (NEICON), a partner of the Ministry of Education and Science in providing universities and research institutes dealing with nanotechnology with the necessary scientific information. According to Alexander Kuznetsov, Executive Director of NEICON, within the framework of the federal target program "Development of Nanoindustry infrastructure in the Russian Federation in 2008-2011", the consortium provided Russian organizations with access to up-to-date information, and also analyzed the information activity of Russian organizations that participate in research in the field of nanotechnology. Of the 750 non-profit organizations included in the partnership, more than 200 participate in the development of the nanoindustry, about 220 are interested in obtaining scientific information. These are mainly universities and research institutes, as well as medical and scientific centers, federal libraries. "Initially, we were faced with the problem of what actually relates to nanotechnology and how to choose information that would be of interest to our researchers. And also by what criteria to analyze their activity. Therefore, first of all, a rubric on nanotechnology was created, it included 9 sections, according to which we analyzed all the world information. Now there are about 50 electronic sources in the world that relate to science and education. It was important to choose the key positions that Russian scientists needed," commented Alexander Kuznetsov. According to him, by the end of 2010, Russian scientists had read about 4 million articles from available resources. The most popular among them is the journal "ACS Nano" of the American Chemical Society.

As for Russian publications on nanotechnology, their share today is only 3% of the global. The situation with citation does not look the best, that is, how interesting the published article is to the world scientific community. "The vast majority of articles are not cited, but it cannot be said that this is very bad. This is due to several factors. Publications may relate to very closed areas or those that are of interest only to scientists in Russia, and also some delay may be the reason. The article gets its citation within five years after publication," Kuznetsov explained.

Monitoring of the development of the nanoindustry and, in particular, the implementation of the Federal Target Program "Development of the Nanoindustry infrastructure in the Russian Federation for 2008-2011" is carried out by the Kurchatov Institute Research Center. The Center participates in the rating of organizations involved in the development of the nanoindustry. There are 1400 such organizations today, some of them are scientific, some are industrial. There are also venture funds, more than two hundred research institutes and almost 70 scientific and educational centers. According to estimates of the Kurchatov Institute, the number of researchers who are involved in projects commissioned by the Ministry of Education and Science has exceeded 7,500 people today. In five years, 43 investment facilities and several regional centers for metrological support of the nanoindustry were built in 22 Russian cities within the framework of the Federal Target Program. A high-speed data transmission network was also created, with the help of which members of the national nanotechnology network interact.

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