Monitoring as a tool for public control and management of the development of the national Nano industry

MONITORING: WHY

The state contract “Creation of a monitoring system for nanotechnology and nanomaterial development and research” had as its main objectives increasing the effectiveness of managerial decisions concerning the evolution of nano-industry directions and establishing new nanotechnologies and nanomaterials by monitoring developments and research in the field and formulating analytical data based on the monitoring feedback. The latter data applied to marketing analysis of global and Russian markets for nanotechnologies and the development of research, technologies and industry in the area.

The information gathering and analysis (monitoring) created according to the contract is able to meet the objective by supplying necessary summary data to make both operational and strategic management decisions. A wide range of organisations find themselves consuming this information are found, first of all government customers suggesting funding the development and commercialisation of nanotechnologies; other interested federal executive bodies as well as institutions participating in the national nanotechnology network (NNN) that co-ordinate development and commercialisation results and provide expertise on them.

The only way to ensure objective, reliable and timely information on expected mid-term and long-term outlook for particular domestic and foreign nanotechnology development directions, as well as possible mid- and long-term commercialisation opportunities for the technologies in question in the existing nano-industry market sectors (products and services) is to conduct continuous monitoring of scientific groundwork, developments and researches using principal NNN organisations and domestic research institutions experienced in developing long-term technology and market forecasts. In addition, the information processing system should suggest ongoing updating due to impartially high level of ambiguity in perspectives, especially time-wise, for the nanotechnologies development and implementation (commercialisation) inherent in both foreign and domestic nano-industry at the moment.

Establishing a system for information assembling and analysis requires a system approach to monitoring and subsequent creation of predictions concerning nano-research, nano-developments and nano-industry based on the monitoring results. This should take a form of correlated systemic procedure with monitoring, analytical and forecasting components being interrelated and based on their mutual results. That is why the monitoring system is systemically interrelated and supplements the Nano-Industry Development Road Map in the Russian federation which, in turn, relies heavily on the monitoring data.

MONITORING: WHO AND HOW

Currently, research in the nanotechnology area in the Russian Federation is carried out at state academies (as initiative projects financed by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research), according to state order (the Federal Task Program “Development of Nano Industry Infrastructure in the Russian Federation in 2008–2011”), as well as a part of university and corporate science. Due to such multidimensional nature of the matter, the monitoring system should embrace both industry aspect and territorial side. That was the principle assumed as a basis for the monitoring system. The project participants along with the main executor — of the Kurchatov Institute Research Centre — included leading Moscow-based and regional universities such as Bauman Moscow State Technical University, Tupolev Kazan State Technical University, Southern Federal University (Rostov-on-Don), and also PROGNOZ, CJSC (Perm) — an experienced integrator and software developer. Collaboration between the Kurchatov Institute with the parent industry organisations to carry out the project of “Creating a Development Road Map for Nano Industry in the Russian Federation by 2015, and up to 2025” not only allowed to gather current statistical data on nanotechnologies development but also to compose a comprehensive list of promising nanotechnologies that was used as a foundation for long-term forecasts concerning nano industry development.

A regional expert panel was formed for monitoring purposes: each region had an expert group consisting of at least four people. Regional specifics was taken into account when selecting participants for expert groups in each area. The experts provided insight on technological aspects of nano-industry development and also answered questions on political support from local authorities, as well as economic and social conditions in the particular region. The picture of nano-industry development in Russia formed based on expert panel allows to identify the peculiarities of innovative technologies evolution in Russia, and articulate long-term forecasts of the development taking into account regional specifics and opportunities.

MONITORING COMPONENTS. ORGANISATIONS AND ACHIEVEMENTS

As of 1 March, 2011, nano-industry monitoring brought up 1.398 organisations (including foreign ones) dealing with nanotechnologies in the Russian Federation. Initial fast growth in the numbers of registered organisations (565 in late 2008, and 1.380 as of 31 December, 2009) came to a halt. Data analysis in a parent organisation results in deleting some bodies from the database as some organisations have already ceased their activities or more detailed evaluation of the monitoring information made it clear that their inclusion in the database as nanotechnology companies was a mistake. That happens due to declarative nature of putting information on the NNN members in the database.

The parent scientific organisation database includes the following institutions operating in the nanotechnology field: 157 institutes and universities, 28 venture funds, 267 research institutes, 69 scientific and education centres, 655 scientific production associations, and 84 collective access centres.

Regional distribution of the organisations is shown in Table 1. Note that the majority of the institutions operate in the Central and North-Western federal districts which reflects the high level of centralisation of science in Russia.

Table 1. Number of Russian organisations by regions

Central

Southern

South-Western

Far-Eastern

Northern

Ural

Privolzhsky

North-Caucasian

656

38

149

32

137

73

156

26

According to the monitoring results, majority of organisations operating in the nano-industry are scientific production associations and research institutes. Foreign institutions and venture funds are the least represented organisations in Russia. This trend reflects a problem inherent in the innovative area in this country as a whole — its general underdeveloped state and the lack of investment attractiveness.

MONITORING COMPONENTS. TECHNOLOGIES

All technologies are aggregated by scientific areas listed in the Nano-Industry Development Program Through 2015. in the course of monitoring, a range of organisations was identified that could not be associated with any field of nano-industry development as stated in the Program, but that are related directly to nano-industry establishment and development in Russia. In order to ensure system approach to such organisations, additional activities were included in the parent scientific institution database, such as:

  • personnel training;
  • metrology and standardisation;
  • innovative project commercialisation;
  • nano-industry equipment;
  • information infrastructure;
  • infrastructure object construction.

Some of the enterprises mentioned above cannot be included in the National Nanotechnology Network as they do not participate in the information exchange within the NNN, but they nonetheless are directly involved in the formation and development of nano-industry infrastructure. Table 2 features the relevant distribution of organisations by activity directions.

Table 2. Organisations by activity directions (including additional areas)

Area

Organisations

Projects

Nanoelectronics

269

324

Nanoengineering

150

98

Functional nanomaterials and high-clean substances

202

183

Functional nanomaterials for energy sector

94

83

Functional nanomaterials for space equipment

28

16

Nanobiotechnologies

218

199

Construction nanomaterials

226

157

Composite nanomaterials

354

319

Nanotechnologies for security systems

62

47

Additional areas

Personnel training

105

74

Metrology and standardisation

62

67

Innovative project commercialisation

42

27

Nano-industry equipment

55

107

Information infrastructure

31

119

Infrastructure object construction

2

1

175 organisations working on the Federal Task Program “Development of Nano Industry Infrastructure in the Russian Federation in 2008–2011,” and 758 enterprises carrying out the “Research and Development, 2007-2012,” are involved in implementing federal task programs.

The database of the parent scientific institution lists information on 1.324 projects being carried out in 2010 in the nanotechnology area. Of all the projects, the experts picked out 54 projects that were considered “unique.” Most of those projects focus on the following areas: composite nanomaterials – 19, nanoelectronics – 13, nanobiotechnologies – 10, functional nanomaterials and high-clean substances – 10.

MONITORING COMPONENTS. PRODUCTS

The project for Creation of a Monitoring System for Nanotechnology and Nanomaterial Development and Research initiated by the Kurchatov Institute Research Centre included a nanotechnologies market research targeted at the main directions for nano-industry development. Experts of the parent industry organisation and experienced marketing professionals were attracted to conduct the research. In the initial stage, the experts selected 47 of the most promising nano-industry products for further study which resulted in picking 29 products for detailed market research.

The analysis showed that although Russian industry is traditionally considered unready for manufacturing nano-containing products, for over a half of the products examined the level of readiness to manufacture can be deemed as high because of virtually ready production chains in place or only expansion of production is required.

The key industries comprising about 70 per cent of final output manufactured using nanotechnologies, nanomaterials, or nanotechnology components, are motor industry, space-rocket hardware, and aircraft building, with a significant predominance of motor industry due to the mass nature of the market for the area. At the same time, the structure of nanotechnology product supply evaluated by the experts in the research generally complies with the requirements of the key industries.

One of the main obstacles in the way of commercialisation is low demand for nanotechnology products on the part of Russian industry. The problem could be solved by involving the industry in the commercialisation process on the stage of scientific developments.

Of the 23 products that were subjected to perform monetary assessments for potential sales of Russian manufacturers, six were in production since 2009, 12 items will enter production in 12-24 months, and four items will hit this stage in the time frame from three to five years. The most promising products in the Russian and global market will enter production in 2012–2014. That means that in 2011 through 2015, over 70 per cent of revenue from selling nanotechnology products will come from promising items that will enter production stage in the time frame from three to five years.

The products studied hold the following positioning in the value chain (some products can be put into two categories depending on the area of use):

5 – nanomaterials,

20 –  semi-manufactured articles containing nanotechnology components, and intermediate products,

12 –  end products containing nanotechnology components,

1 –  equipment for scientific work and metrology.

The highest level of commercialisation is seen in the nanomaterial sector. All considered products fitting in the nanomaterial group are already in production with the volume of manufacturing increasing significantly during 2010–2011 which led to a decrease in purchase price.

Most nanotechnology-containing semi-manufactured articles will enter production in 2011 with the key product examined in the analysis (solid-state energy storage system) will enter the market by 2012–2014. In 2012 through 2015, total expected sales volume of these articles from Russian manufacturers will exceed RUR820 billion.

About RUR550 billion from this sum (or approximately 67 per cent of total sales) come from Russian manufacturers selling their products in large-scale markets. These are fast-growing markets where Russian vendors can win a significant share due to the availability of required technologies. The articles in question will enter production stage in 2013–2014, but due to the importance of this nanotechnology product segment it is necessary to perform continuous opportunities and activity monitoring of the main competitive countries and companies.

On average, Russian manufacturers have 12.5 per cent share of the global market taking into consideration all the products included into the financial potential assessment of Russian nanotechnology products, and global market evaluation. This assessment shows that Russia sports good leadership chances in the priority products segment.

Products analysis by usage areas shows that according to scientific circles, military orders and requirements serve as the main driving force for nanotechnology implementation.

As for product usage areas, the experts mentioned the following: 19 dual-purpose articles, seven items to be used for manufacturing, four products targeted at private users (mainly medical services included in the nanobiotechnolgy category).

Work aimed at studying market perspectives of nanotechnology products as well as product clusters is continued on the ongoing basis at the Kurchatov Institute along with State University of Management according to the current state contract between the State University of Management and the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation: “Development of Information-Analytical Infrastructure for Marketing Analysis of Medium-Term Nanoproduct Market Dynamics and Formulating Methodological Recommendation to Create Nanoproduct Clusters in Russian Federation.” In the course of contract work, market perspectives of a wide range of nano-industry products for medicine, power engineering, electronics, manufacturing, etc.

MONITORING COMPONENTS. PERSONNEL TRAINING AND INFRASTRUCTURE

Attracting highly qualified instructors to teach the necessary personnel for nano-industry is of great importance for the development of the industry in Russia. Specialists of the required qualification actively participate in scientific research in Russia and abroad, and are involved in a large number of research projects. Making research and teaching more prestigious fields of expertise will allow to partially entice Russian citizens working abroad in leading innovation centres to return to this country.

The Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation and other executive bodies have already taken and are currently taking the necessary timely steps to train the relevant professionals and to provide the equipment required for the educational process that is compliant with education programs.

Today, there is a disproportion between the requirements of academic, industry and university science, enterprises of high-tech industry sectors in the nanotechnology area, concerning their need for qualified professionals and the available supply in the labour market as demand greatly exceeds supply.

In order to eliminate the existing disproportion, it is necessary to create a continuous system of professional education for nanotechnology industry, that would embrace all educational levels and ensure expanded specialist training, as well as allow to attract young people and retaining highly qualified experts. This system should be based on a network of leading universities of the Russian Federation that perform training and retraining of specialists for nano-industry. Moreover, it is necessary to provide a broad co-operation of the said institutions with scientific production associations included in the national nanotechnology network — both for specialist training and carrying out joint scientific researches.

41 institute in Russia graduate bachelors, masters and specialists in nanotechnologies or in close fields of expertise. But only 29 of them train bachelors, masters and specialists in the areas perceived as purely nanotechnological such as nanomaterials, nanotechnologies, and nanotechnologies for electronics.

Besides institutes and universities, the following base institutions qualify as components of the NNN staff infrastructure being currently developed that are the easiest to classify by the levels of tasks addressed in the interest of particular NNN subjects: collective access centres, scientific and educational centres, and laboratory department centre infrastructure. Each infrastructure element is supposed to address particular tasks on its level of expertise and competence (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Components of material facilities for nano-industry staff infrastructure 

Scientific and educational centres (SEC) usually use university as their base and are equipped with nanotechnology research and test equipment. SECs are able to carry out customer research and development, train and retrain staff for co-operation purposes (some groups as requested by co-operating partners), as well as bachelors and masters of highest qualifications.

SECs are focused primarily on creating infrastructure for research manufacturing facilities allowing the university housing the SEC conduct customer research and development on a new quality level and turn their laboratory developments into experimental models. The existing chain of SECs and collective access centres can be deemed sufficient. Distribution of collective access centres and scientific and educational centres by federal districts is shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2. Monitoring data by federal districts  

One way of addressing infrastructure issues related to the availability of new high-tech equipment is to create national research centres. The first pilot centre was launched at the Kurchatov Institute. Such centres exist in all leading countries. Their goal is to concentrate both resources and best specialists in breakthrough directions. Each priority area is planned to have a scientific institution selected to conduct research on global level, in order to serve as a foundation for a national research centre.

MONITORING INFORMATION SYSTEM

Nanotechnology Research and Development Monitoring System was created to gather and analyse information from Prognoz, CSJC. The main characteristics of the System are:

  • availability of multiple data access points concerning the characteristics inherent to nano-industry development, nanotechnology and nanomaterial research and development;
  • creation of common information space to store structured and non-structured information.

The system includes the following:

  • data storage;
  • research and development analytical subsystem for nanotechnologies and nanomaterials;
  • data visualisation subsystem;
  • administration and information security subsystem.

The system automated functions include:

  • gathering, processing, analysis, storing and transfer of information retrieved from various sources, concerning signs of nano-industry development, existing research and developments in the nanotechnology area, as well as social, economic, financial and other indicators in different angles including industry and regional ones;
  • browsing statistical information in the area of interest: calendar, territorial, industrial, as related to indicator indexes, etc.; creation of arbitrary tables based on information from various data sources;
  • creation of ad hoc query replies in the required format — tables, graphics, maps;
  • manual and automated information input via a visual interface accessible with a standard web browser;
  • verification and examination of statistical information prior to data storage entry;
  • creation of analytical reports allowing to assess the development of nano-industry in Russia, its regions, as well as other countries;
  • system administration and access right assignment;
  • granting access to the System information via a web interface.

The created system is used by the NNN member organisations in order to inform the scientific and industry expert community on the development perspectives and realisation of potential for domestic nano-industry, as well as to ensure information exchange.

Figure 3. Centralised data storage (projects)

Figures 3 and 4 show examples of a dialog window of the developed System in the centralised data storage and nano-industry organisation sector.

Figure 4. Data on nano-industry organisations and amounts of funding

MONITORING — A TOOL FOR MANAGEMENT DECISION MAKING

The Program sets quite a short time frame for the development of domestic nano-industry, stipulating as one of the principal targets that by 2015 the industry should become one of the full-fledged sectors as to the amount of end products. The monitoring system allows both government customers financing the nanotechnology research and development, and NNN members co-ordinating this R&D in particular nanotechnology areas, to prepare and make balanced management decisions to distribute resources taking account further development of domestic nano-industry potential — that is, basic, exploratory and applied R&D — and practical realisation of existing potential. The latter part consists of experimental design and technology work including that according to government and private partnership projects targeted at commercialisation of experimental design and technology work results.

The Monitoring System created within the project is used to improve the management system and increase the management decision-making process in the area of nano-industry infrastructure development. The results are in demand on the part of the parent scientific organisation of the national nanotechnology network of the Russian Federation — the federal state Kurchatov Institute Russian Research Centre that uses it to perform its functions; and parent scientific industry organisations for their work.

Monitoring of nano-industry development in the Russian federation shows:

  • despite the ongoing economic slowdown and decrease in funding, nanotechnology infrastructure in Russia is being created and its safety factor suggests the possibility to achieve the program indicators postulated in the Program 2015 and the Presidential Initiative for nano-Industry Development;
  • government structures and state corporations play a key role in the development of nano-industry in the Russian Federation as they form the system of measures and responsibility co-ordination to realise the Program and priority projects, as well as creating reliable demand for nanoproducts (such demand is not present at the moment);
  • the development of the infrastructure and methodological basis take the lead over the staff aspect and normative legal foundation for the nano-industry;
  • technology reserve in key directions creates perspectives for building competitive products to win over global market niches and segments;
  • notwithstanding the state efforts, the nano-industry infrastructure in Russia in general has not formed yet. The collective access centres, Scientific and educational centres, and universities (carrying out nanotechnology programs) being currently established are poorly connected with each other with their interaction often being superficial and functions frequently overlapping;
  • regional innovative programs are not well co-ordinated with federal programs and do not form a single structure with the adjourning regions or with general federal programs; part of the programs are not independent and not focused on local realities. Synchronising local development programs with federal ones can undoubtedly provide an additional synergistic effect and accelerate the development of nano-industry in the Russian Federation.

A. A. Balyakin, Ph. D. (physics and mathematics)
Kurchatov Institute Russian Research Centre, 1, Academician Kurchatov Sq., Moscow, 123182

The Russian Nanotechnologies magazine, #7-8, 2011.


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