Research and standardisation in nanotechnology: Evidence from Germany

Nanoscience and nanotechnology are science fields which are growing extremely dynamically. Germany occupies the top position in Europe and is only second to the US worldwide, which can be attributed to growing research promotion by the state. Based on a general conceptual framework on the role of different types of standards in the research process and technology life cycle, we argue that the market success of nanotechnology applications depends very much on the development of corresponding standards, which clarify not only terminology, measurement and testing methods, but also regulate safety and health aspects and specify interfaces. Other countries, European and international standardisation organisations have launched first initiatives rather early. However, Germany was not able to translate its excellent starting position in nanotechnology research into a leading position in standardisation initiatives, which pave the way for future commercialisation of nanotechnology and also the basis for the next generation of research activities. Based on a survey among stakeholders of German nanotechnology research, we are able not only to provide a first empirical validation of our conceptual model on the role of standards in the research process, but also to define the major problems at the interface between research and standardisation, and finally, to recommend possible options for their solution.


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Nanotechnology, Policies, Research, Standards, Technology transfer

Additional information:

AuthorsBlind, Knut (Berlin University of Technology), Gauh, Stephen (Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research)
Publisher:Springer US
Keywords:Nanotechnology, Policies, Research, Standards, Technology transfer
Last update:2009
Additional comments:Journal of Technology Transfer 34(3), 320-342