HomeNumber of Finnish companies using nanotechnology triples between 2008 and 2011

Number of Finnish companies using nanotechnology triples between 2008 and 2011

The number of Finnish companies using nanotechnology tripled during 2008 to 2011. This was revealed by a survey carried out by the Nanotechnology Cluster Programme (OSKE) in early 2012. In 2007–2011, the Nanocluster expanded to include 210 companies that provide a commercial product involving nanotechnology. Approximately one hundred of these are at the pre-commercial phase, while at least 170 have reached the vision stage.

The nanobusiness in Finland has seen rapid growth. According to the previous report (by Tekes – the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation) completed in late 2008, only 65 companies had reached the commercial phase, or 200 if those at the vision phase are included. Thus, the number has more than tripled in just over three years. At the same time, the business focus has shifted from nanomaterials to finished products, machines and equipment.

Among companies with commercial products, around 140 offer nanomaterials, intermediate products (such as coating), end products (with at least one nanotechnology-based feature), or equipment. The strongest growth has been seen in the service business. Approximately 70 companies are service providers, while more than twenty offer services in addition to other products.

In particular, Finnish industry uses nanotechnology in coatings and additives. Among the more familiar consumer nanoproducts are consumer electronics devices, LED lighting, sports equipment and textiles, as well as dirt-repellent coatings.

- According to Eeva Viinikka, Programme Director of the National Nanotechnology Cluster Programme, under which the survey was performed, factors behind the growth of the nanobusiness include simultaneous and parallel contributions by various actors (e.g. the FinNano programmes of Tekes and the Academy of Finland, infra investments by the Ministry of Education and Culture, and Centre of Expertise Programme of the Ministry of Employment and the Economy).  

-  The Centre of Expertise programme includes 12 clusters, in addition to the Nanocluster. This structure has enabled us to communicate the practical opportunities and added value of nanotechnology to various industries, in a continuous and effective manner. The Nanocluster primarily acts as a cross-sectoral network, promoting the added value of nanotechnology in, say mechanical engineering, the marine industry, built-up environments, well-being, and medical diagnostics, Ms Viinikka continues.

A specific strength of Tekes nanotechnology promotion programmes has lain in their combination of funding with programme coordination. Together with the Nanocluster, these have acted as an effective network in connecting actors within the industry. Funding for Centres of Excellence has been the success factor behind nano research. This has enabled universities and research institutions to employ researchers in long-term research rather than individual projects. Graduate schools have provided the framework for training specialists for both research and industrial requirements.

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The Nanotechnology Cluster Programme promotes the value adding introduction of nano and microtechnologies within Finnish industry, and seeks new business opportunities. Comprising eight centres of expertise around Finland, the role of the Nanocluster is to provide practical information on introducing nanotechnology, and on the benefits of nanotechnology within the traditional industrial sectors.

For more information: Programme Director Eeva Viinikka (Nanotechnology Cluster Programme),
tel. +358 40 580 4982, eeva.viinikka@culminatum.fi

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