Nanotechnology: Successor to US/Russia space race?

Nanotechnology: Successor to US/Russia space race?

We’ve mentioned Russian activity in nanotechnology here before, but I hadn’t quite realized the scale of Russian nanotech plans until this article in RIA Novosti:

First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov, who is in charge of high-technology development, said in June the government would allocate 200 billion rubles ($7.7 billion) to develop nanotechnology until 2015.

If correct, this sounds like about US$1.1 billion per year. That’s pretty close to what the US spends in the U.S. National Nanotechnology Initiative. And maybe in purchasing power, it might be more. Of course, I was told on my visit there last summer that about half of the money will be siphoned off into inappropriate hands, but still, that’s a lot of money. Now we know where Europe’s energy payments are going. —Christine

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  1. Anonymous July 6, 2007 at 7:03 am - Reply

    Considering the cost of the labour market in Russia, it’s one heck of a lot more than $1.1 billion – depending on what fraction goes on labour. Given that nanotech endeavours to use as little material as possible, it’s not going to be like the space race with enormous bills for fuel and materials.

    It’s nice to see that other nations recognise the importance of a developed molecular nanotechnology, although it does carry unpleasant overtones of the Cold War. The space race was after all, mostly about showing off who could develop the most powerful rockets (to impress the military with their ICBM potential) while providing a sideshow competition into which was the “best” ideology. If the warmongers on each side start making this a positive feedback spiral, the result could be a rapidly developed nanotech at the cost of a third world war.

  2. Phillip Huggan July 9, 2007 at 5:05 pm - Reply

    Yes, the geopolitics of Russia’s oil policy is mildly annoying. Maybe they can be taken to court for the price gouging and the millions recouped (maybe not; are they violating any trade agreements?). As for the geopolitics of America’s oil policy…theft is a low ROE but destruction and plunder are surely negative sum.

    Russia is likely to have bad fast-commercialization capabilities, just like UK, France and Canada. They’d be best served by strategic links with established players, especially American ones.

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