Nanotechnology represents an exciting new area of scientific discovery, and has generated increasing interest from government officials, scientists, and the general public in recent years. This innovative field has a broad array of scientific and commercial applications – and an equally broad range of societal implications. As an enabling technology rather than a specific industry, developments related to nanotechnology have implications for almost any product in all stages of its life cycle. This requires effective communication among a diverse collection of individuals from multiple fields, each with its own terminology. Adding to the complexity, there are few existing standards within or among disciplines, or even countries and firms. As a result, nanotechnology can be one of the most challenging technologies to effectively communicate and understand.

To tie together these diverse themes, Duke GVC Center Research Scientist Stacey Frederick developed a global value chain (GVC) approach to analyze the innovation to commercialization life cycle of an enabling technology. The GVC framework is used to identify how the actions and relationships between public and private stakeholders affect the development, location, and competitiveness of an industry. This framework helps overcome communication barriers related to nanotechnology topics by enabling researchers to educate and disseminate results on a variety of topics using a comparable method.

The Duke GVC Center nanotechnology research has been supported by the National Science Foundation through a partnership with the University of California, Santa Barbara’s Center for Nanotechnology in Society (CNS). This joint research project focused on the diffusion of nanotechnology to Asia, as well as involvement in nanotechnology in North Carolina and California. We have developed novel approaches to map the dissemination of nanomaterials in a variety of nano-enabled intermediates and final products. Outputs of this collaboration have included conference presentations, educational materials, and websites. One of the key educational resources developed as part of this project is the Traveling Technologies Research Template created for the CNS summer internship program. The California in the Nano Economy website represents an interactive, web-based version of applying the value chain research approach to a specific location (California) and the parts of a variety of industries that are impacted by a particular technology (nanotechnology). A secondary focus of this project is to showcase how visual analytic tools can be combined with the value chain research approach to further understanding of the industry and its economic development impacts and potential.


Nanotechnology in Society: An Overview

This California Research Bureau Short Subject (February 2015 S-15-002) provides an introduction to nanotechnology, its potential risks and applications, and current regulation in the United States and California. “Nano” refers to particles and effects scaled at billionths of a meter. Emerging applications hold great promise in many areas, including new ways to treat cancer.

Twelve Years of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Publications in Mexico

This article in the Journal of Nanoparticle Research reviews information from the Web of Science relevant to articles on nanoscience and nanotechnology in Mexico over 12 years (2000 – 2012), and explains the changes in S&T policy.

Who is the Nanotechnology Economy? Obstacles and Methods of Identifying and Estimates of U.S. Nano Firms & Workers

Presentation by Stacey Frederick in November 2013 at the Sustainable Nanotechnology Organization (SNO) conference in Santa Barbara, CA.

Twelve Years of Nanotechnology in Mexico (2000 – 2012)

Stacey Frederick presented this research at S.NET, which covers the following topics on the nanotechnology industry in Mexico: R&D funding, centers & labs, evolution of publications by Mexican authors, and firms.

Quantifying the Nanotechnology Workforce: Methods, Barriers & Estimates

Stacey Frederick gave this presentation at the SASE Annual Meeting in Milan, Italy on June 28, 2013. It was part of an ongoing research project between the Center for Nanotechnology in Society (CNS) at UC-Santa Barbara and Duke GVCC.

Method and Platform for Identifying Stakeholders in the Nanotechnology Economy

This presentation provides an overview of a method to identify the firms and organizations involved in the nano economy throughout the value chain and introduces a new web-based platform to disseminate the information.

California in the Nano Economy

National Nanomanufacturing Network (NNN) Newsletter, 5(8), August 29.

California in the Nanotechnology Economy (2012)

Poster presentation describing the California in the Nanotechnology Economy project. Prepared for the Center for Nanotechnology in Society (CNS) Research Summit and NSF Site Visit on May 7, 2012 in Santa Barbara, CA.

China’s (Not So Hidden) Developmental State: Becoming a Leading Nanotechnology Innovator in the Twenty-First Century

This paper looks at how the debate over innovation is reflected in China’s approach to national development, especially with respect to the use of nanotechnology.