Here’s a little math for your Monday morning. Late last week it was reported that total nanotechnology investment is expected to be worth $1 trillion by 2015. Yes, that’s "trillion." With a "T."
At Bangalore Nano 2007, Keith O’Nions, director for general science and innovation for the Department of Innovation, University & Skills in the United Kingdom made the following statement, "Nanotechnology is of all disciplines and its provides a global opportunity of more than $1 trillion by 2015." He cited as an example the £100 million expended by the United Kingdom, including 23 centers and more than 1300 nanotechnology related companies in the UK alone.
This leads me to a few thoughts. First, wow, that’s a big number in a short period of time. One trillion dollars in six years. Granted, this number includes all spending on nanotechnology across all sectors, worldwide, but it’s still big. Second, this spending and research and development will proceed with or without regulatory oversight, which is the question we spend a lot of time on here. Insurance companies are already starting to think about these issues, for better (see the oft-cited Swiss re article here) or worse (see John’s recent post on advertising here). It makes me wonder when, and in what form, concrete regulations will begin to appear (let me take this opportunity to digress a little and say regulation for the sake of regulation is not useful or helpful, and stakeholders must be involved in those discussions). Third and finally, this number is only going to get bigger, which is, I think, good. The potential benefits and advances that nanotechnology holds will only be discovered through meaningful research, development, and discussion.
Oh, and wow, that’s a big number.