May 30, 2008
Nanotechnology holds many socioeconomic challengesBack
© Reuse this Significant investment and research are being applied to the science of nanotechnology and, last week, one more contribution was made – the launch of the La Villette nanotechnology exhibition at the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre, in Newtown, Johannesburg.
Nanotechnology, has traditionally been defined as building things from the bottom up, and is the technology of an atom, which potentially holds the key to new materials, which could improve the quality of life of South Africans, as well as position the country to compete on a global level.
The exhibition comprises four focus areas that present the foundations, techniques, applications and issues around nanotechnology through the use of posters, videos and interactive displays.
The exhibition is a concrete example of the strong collaboration in science and tech- nology between France and South Africa, says DST emerging research areas and infrastructure MD Daniel Adams.
“Given that nanotechnology is new in South Africa, this exhibition is also necessary to create awareness of the science, together with its challenges and benefits,” says Adams.
“The benefits of nanotechnology, both economically and socially, have been proven inter- nationally. South Africa has identified and realised these benefits, to the extent that we have developed a nanotechnology strategy, which delves into two main clusters: the social cluster, which deals with water and energy research, and the industrial cluster, which delves into mining and minerals, and the development of advanced materials,” Adams tells Engineering News.
The South African government has invested R170-million in nanotechnology research for the period of 2006 to 2009.
Location for this exhibition was a key ingredient to creating awareness of nanotechnology. Also, the exhibition was launched during the National Science Week, which targets the general public, and more specifically high school learners, as part of government’s mandate to renew interest in science and technology, and to promote human capital development in the future.
“We have a very good relationship with the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre, which has a mission to provide access to science for young South Africans, which is very important for the future, as South Africa has [great] ambition for develop- ing science and technology. At the same time, it also needs the human capabilities, and it is important that a country like France, which has expertise, can share this with South Africa,” French ambassador to South Africa Denis Pietton tells Engineering News.
France has developed an ambitious pro-gramme in nanotechnology in the last seven years, and is considered to be one of the most advanced countries in nanotechnology research, and ranks as the fifth-largest investor in this science globally.
Pietton says that science is about sharing, and not the isolation of knowledge. “We are happy to rank among the key partners of South Africa, and the programmes we implement in the future together, not only in the field of nanotechnology, imply human exchanges that we want to develop in the future,” he adds.
“We are aware of the skills shortage in South Africa. The relationship with South Africa is of the highest level of scientific excellence because South Africa has the capabilities to deal with this. We are committed to strengthening capa- city, through a skills and research transfer between both countries in the form of exchange students and scientists. In this context, it is important to note that South Africa is not behind in its research of nanotechnology, but is on a different level, compared with France. And both countries are involved in an exchange of knowledge,” concludes French embassy counsellor for science, culture and development Samuel Elmaleh.
Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor
Other Science and Technology News
Sweden-based automotive safety systems manufacturer Autoliv is showcasing a new vacuum braking system – the Torricelli brake – developed to significantly reduce the stopping distance for autonomous emergency braking (AEB) in vehicles. The Torricelli brake is a...
Recent Research Reports
This Week's Magazine
Energy analyst and EE Publishers MD Chris Yelland warned recently against excessive optimism regarding timescales for the proposed construction of new nuclear power plants (NPPs) in South Africa. He was speaking at a Nuclear Roundtable in Johannesburg. “I think we...
Malawi’s Lilongwe Water Board (LWB) is inviting eligible bidders to prequalify for the board’s efficiency improvement works, which will be implemented as part of the E24-million Lilongwe Water Resources Efficiency Programme. LWB CEO Alfonso Chikuni explains that...
CROATIA, AN EU MEMBER BUT NOT A TDCA MEMBER On July 1, 2013, Croatia officially became the twenty-eighth member of the European Union (EU). Despite Croatia’s accession into the EU, it is yet to become party to the Trade, Development and Cooperation Agreement (TDCA)...
The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has announced that its new Inundu airborne electronics testing, evaluation and training pod had made its first test flight on September 10. The successful flight was undertaken from Lanseria International...
The Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) – which disbursed a record R13-billion during 2015, from R12.7-billion in the prior year – remained optimistic that it could ramp-up loan disbursements to R25-billion a year by 2018 as it sought to give greater emphasis...