Feeds

Nanotech's grand challenge is sustainable development

Big things expected of small science

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

The developing world stands to gain most from nanotechnology through its advances in energy storage and production, according to a report. In a poll of 63 experts in the field, nanotechnology's potential to transform food production was also highlighted.

The Canadian Joint Centre for Bioethics (JCB) asked the panel of specialists which areas would benefit most, in the next ten years, from advances in nanotechnology. It used the responses to draw up a list of the ten most beneficial areas of research.

It says that it has ordered potential application according to how useful they will be in addressing questions of sustainable development, as outlined at the 2002 UN Johannesburg Summit. The report's authors argue that no one has tried to do this before.

To put their list together, the researchers asked panellists to consider each technology in context: What kind of impact will a technology have; will it address the most pressing needs; can it be made ready within ten years; is it socially and politically acceptable and are there any indirect benefits?

Top of their list were technologies that could improve hydrogen storage, or up the effeciency of solar cells. Power-related advances were followed by new applications for agriculture, such as nanosensors to monitor the quality of the soil. Water treatment was next, followed by disease diagnosis and screening, drug delivery systems and food storage technology.

"Our results can provide guidance to the developing countries themselves to help target their growing initiatives in nanotechnology," the report states.

The authors also using the top ten list to form the basis of a nanotechnology Grand Challenge, much like Hilbert’s Grand Challenges in Mathematics. ®

You can read the full report here (pdf).

Related stories

Hydrogen cars by 2012 says DaimlerChrysler
Canadian scientists build nano-propeller
Group voices concerns over synthetic technology

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
MARS NEEDS OCEANS to support life - and so do exoplanets
Just being in the Goldilocks zone doesn't mean there'll be anyone to eat the porridge
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Diary note: Pluto's close-up is a year from … now!
New Horizons is less than a year from the dwarf planet
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.