Resources and Tools

12 Oct 2005 | News
Michael Kenward's roundup of new studies, reports and tools for the business of science

A roundup of new studies, reports and tools for the business of science

Market research and other number games

The mega market in nano tools - new study
Don't get sucked into believing that nanotechnology is all about whizzy new high-tech toys. In the early days at least the money is mostly in the tools and techniques needed to operate at the nano scale. As Lux Research puts it: "Interest in nanotechnology focuses on remarkable applications ranging from computer displays to cancer treatments. But behind the scenes of nearly all such applications lie sophisticated tools that researchers use to inspect, fabricate, and model matter at the nanoscale." Their forecast: Tool sales will grow from $580 million in 2004 to $1.1 billion in 2010.

Era of next-generation electronics draws closer with spintronics
The trickle of stories in spintronics is turning into a stream. The latest bout includes observations from Frost & Sullivan. When the market research community starts to show interest, it is a sure sign that someone expects to make money out of the science. This one coincides with an announcement of a research paper from a group at Imperial College London. That story also has some tell-tale indicators. The announcement doesn't just talk about the science, it reveals that the researchers have already started to talk to "commercial interests".

Report card on pan-European research
In Hannover 20 years ago, Helmut Kohl, François Mitterrand and a battalion of lesser politicians, technocrats and journalists gathered to launch Europe’s answer to Star Wars: A pan-European industrial research program called Eureka! Boondoggle or boon to the economy? You decide, with a look through this report on progress to date.

US slide in world publishing share continues 
Statistics from the Thomson Scientific National Science Indicators database demonstrate that, over the last 15 years, the United States has steadily slipped in its yearly per cent share of world scientific literature compared with the respective shares for the European Union and the Asia Pacific region. The Asian share has risen most sharply, with particular gains in the physical sciences.

Frightening news in EU survey on techno-phobia
Folk lore has it that Americans are more accepting of science and technology than Europeans. That may be so; they are certainly happier to live with such things as genetically modified food. But it does not mean that Europeans are averse to technology. A new EU survey shows that "European citizens are receptive to innovative products or services: a comfortable majority of 57% of EU citizens declares that they feel attracted towards innovative products or services." There are, though, some geographic variations, with southern Europeans being of a more sceptical mind.

IT sourcing: 'Workforce trends and skills development'
ICT, that's information and communications technologies, continue to fuel the birth of new businesses. But will those startups be able to recruit the geeks they need to bring their ideas to market? This report points to problems ahead. "Current trends indicate declining university IT enrollments in the US and informal reports show that US client-organizations are devaluing basic IT skills and capabilities because of the ease of purchasing them through sourcing. This research is addressing these issues with organizations to determine whether there is such a trend."

Advice & opinions

Helping SMEs to grow organically
Can you write a rule book that helps small businesses to grow? One research group thinks so. It even had EU money to pay for its work.

Steal this book, on intellectual property
Legal advice never comes cheap – well, rarely. But Boult Wade Tennant will send you a free 24-page guide on intellectual property. No substitute for a professional's input, but it might delay the start of the clock.

UK tech companies could be hit by court ruling
A Thames Valley accounting form, James & Cowper, reports on a disturbing new wrinkle in the UK government's tax credits. Not for the first time is seems that the Treasury has messed up with the formulation of the rules. Remember the glitch that forced several universities to call a halt to spinning out? Will this one lead to another set of unintended consequences?

Proposal of industrial research and development performance indices
The journal R&D Management has published a paper that might warrant some analysis. "To express research and development performance, R&D efficiency and R&D cash flow are proposed as indices." Might help a business to benchmark itself against others.

Will Freedom of Information enslave research?
New FOI laws in Britain and Scotland are causing some tremors in the research community, concerned that competitors could use the laws to ferret out information about sponsored research at universities. A misconception, says an expert on the law speaking at the recent UK conference of tech-transfer officers.

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