Nanotechnology in Germany

In particular, the number of patent applications is a key indicator for nanotechnology’s economic importance. In this area, in 2010 Germany came in third after the USA and Japan. With respect to scientific publications, Germany’s nano-researchers rank in fourth place.

In February 2011, 242 large companies and 735 small and medium-sized enterprises were listed in Germany that deal with the development, application and distribution of nanotechnological products. The number of jobs in German nanotechnology is already exceeding 60,000.

German nanotechnology’s international edge in knowledge, the German population’s open attitude towards it and the great interest of the up-and-coming generation are additional locational advantages – however, the implementation of scientific results in industrial application is still slower in Germany than e.g. in the USA or Japan.

In order to hold the top-notch position, great challenges have to be met:

  • The transformation or research results into technological innovations for various applications has to be sped up.
  • Further sectors and companies are to be introduced to nanotechnology.
  • Ostacles to scientific and economic progress are to be surmounted, favourable framework conditions have to be created.
  • The intensive dialogue about potentials and risks of nanotechnology between science, industry, government and the public continues to be important.

With the Action Plan Nanotechnology 2015, an important part of the federal government’s Hightech-strategy 2020 for Germany, the BMBF presented a package of measures for future setting of the course and for solutions that will allow application of nanotechnology without endangering man or environment.