Thursday, 18 June 2009

Philippine Govt to invest P2.5B in R&D for nanotech development

Jonathan L. Mayuga
Business Mirror
http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/home/economy/11903-govt-to-invest-p25b-in-rad-for-nanotech-development-in-rp.html

THE government is eyeing to invest some P2.5 billion for the development of nanotechnology in the Philippines through research and development within the next 10 years.

A team of experts from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is now in the process of finalizing a road map for the development of nanotechnology in the Philippines.

Five areas of nanotechnology application in the Philippines which need particular focus, namely, ICT and semiconductors, energy, agriculture and food, medicine and environment, have been identified as priority areas of development for nanotechnology under the proposed road map.

The research and development of nanotechnology will be conducted by the DOST, in collaboration with public and private research institutions with technical expertise and capacities.

The group, led by Dr. Fabian Dayrit, chairman of the Philippine Council for Advanced Science and Technology Research and Development (PCASTRD), presented a proposed road map for the development of nanotechnology, or nanotech, at the Sulô Hotel in Quezon City on Wednesday.

Dayrit said the Philippines has the technical expertise and capacity to conduct extensive research and development on such nanotech areas or discipline.  He said it is only wise for the Philippines to invest now, or it may end up lagging behind other countries.

“We don’t want to be left behind,” he said.

Nanotechnology is the study of the control of matter on an atomic and molecular scale. Generally, nanotechnology deals with structures of the size 100 nanometers or smaller, and involves developing materials or devices within that size.

Nanotechnology is very diverse, ranging from novel extensions of conventional device physics, to completely new approaches based upon molecular self-assembly, to developing new materials with dimensions on the nanoscale, even to speculation on whether we can directly control matter on the atomic scale.

To jump-start research and development of nanotechnology in the Philippines, the DOST has already requested from the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) an initial amount of P50 million.

Such research and development will cover the five identified priority areas, plus education, Dayrit said.

In 2001 the United States National Nanotechnology Initiative invested about $220 million toward research and discovery. The budget for 2008 went up to $1.5 billion.

Other counties have invested for nanotechnology. The European Union allotted €1 billion in 2004. Japan invested $800 million in 2003. South Korea allotted $2 billion for 10 years, while Taiwan allotted $600 million for a period of six years. China has allotted $100 million in 2003.

As of 2008, the total worldwide investment in nanotechnology reached more than $10 billion, Dayrit said.

Dayrit said the scope of nanotechnology is not limited to miniaturization. “It involves the exploitation of new phenomena which arise at the atomic and molecular levels,” he said.

According to Dayrit, nanotechnology can be applied to biotechnology, materials science, and ICT.

“Nanotechnology is already with us,” he said. However, research in nanotechnology is essential “so that we can explore the potential of this technology.

According to Dayrit, nanotechnology is not a completely new field. As far as the Phiulippines is concerned, “we are not starting from zero capabilities.”

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