Nanotechnology is not only supposed to induce significant changes and effects as a result of nano-based applications, but it is also presented as a breakthrough technology comparable to other technologies that have profoundly changed industry structures in various sectors. However, to what extent this is going to happen and what may be the specific implications for particular industries and sectors, is unclear. While scientists and other promoters offer promises about major changes due to nanotechnology, we also see that firms are reluctant to buy into them. In many sectors, the situation can be characterized as a waiting game. This has to do with the uncertainties about performance of nanotechnology, and sometimes also with its social acceptance (as in the food sector), but also with existing industry structures, which may not be conducive to the new technologies or even threatened by them. On the other hand, we see indicators for change as well, including the emergence of new types of firms like design houses for new materials, and collective bodies (consortia, EU Technology Platforms). This project aims at analyzing the institutional and sectoral contexts of innovation and their co-evolution with nanotechnology-enabled developments, and use the analysis as input into strategy articulation of key actors, including policy makers. We investigate which changes and challenges nanotechnologies may induce for business models and roles of specific types of actors and organizations, which new types of actors may emerge, which new markets open up or come under pressure, and how innovation processes, networks and systems may change.
Project duration: 1/2014-9/2016
Contact person: Haico te Kulve
h.tekulve(at)utwente.nl, + 31 53 489 3352 / 3353