Categories
Tuesday
Feb062007

2008 budget expands nanotech research funding

dollar_bill_great_seal.jpgNanotechnology research would get a boost under President Bush's proposed $6.55 billion U.S. Commerce Department budget. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), one of the department's scientific components, would receive $641 million, a 21 percent increase, and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, swamped with nanotech patent applications, would receive an 8.2 percent increase in its budget. Nanotechnology "promises to redefine 21st century manufacturing just as the assembly line redefined 20th century manufacturing,'' said NIST director William Jeffrey. And National Science Foundation funding for nanotechnology research would climb to $390 million, up 4.5 percent from the level proposed in 2007.
Tuesday
Feb062007

Climate change as economic opportunity

globe.jpgSwiss-based banking and investment giant UBS has released a 106-page report with a section on the investment risks and opportunities of climate change. The report identifies key investment opportunities and threats, translates them into concrete proposals for investment strategy, and lists areas that could be possible investment opportunities, including pure-play industrial biotechnology companies, turbine manufacturers, producers of insulation materials and high performance windows, global positioning systems, and providers of real-time traffic information.

Monday
Feb052007

Interview with Dr. Kristen Kulinowski, Director, International Council on Nanotechnology


kulinowski_small.JPGAs Director of the International Council on Nanotechnology and Executive Director for Education and Public Policy at the Center for Biological and Environmental Nanotechnology, Dr. Kristen Kulinowski has her finger on the pulse of society as it reacts to the emerging field of nanotechnology. If we don’t do more to explore nanotech risks proactively, she says in her GTF interview, we may see public perception go from “wow” to “yuck”.

Monday
Feb052007

Corn-based ethanol stalling, alternatives coming

switchgrass.jpgWith corn prices up 70 percent since last summer, many proposed ethanol plants may never get built. Purdue University Agricultural Economist Wally Tyner says
the next alternative fuels trend will be cellulosic ethanol, made from things like switchgrass.
Saturday
Feb032007

Making tough choices in biotechnology

stem_cell.jpgThe U.S. could lose its competitive edge in stem cell research, according to an article in today’s Washington Post. Not long ago, it was Europe leading the biotech revolution, but they lost their predominance in part because they resisted the patenting of living things while the U.S. allowed it. Who can blame them for taking their time in making as difficult a decision as whether or not to allow that, and yet the result was that the U.S. controls 75% of world biotech sales, whereas less than 30 years ago, five of the world's top 10 pharmaceutical companies, including the two largest, were European.



Now the U.S. faces a similar dilemma over stem cell research. “The ongoing political debate over the appropriate use of embryonic stem cells and the low level of government support have denied stem cell research the catalyst provided to biotechnology,” say the article’s authors. So it seems we can skip the debate and accept the ethical implications of stem cell research, which are not to be taken lightly, or we can debate too long and watch the $60 billion per year world biotechnology market pass us by. Hopefully there’s some middle ground to be found that allows us to proceed responsibly.