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A Matter of Size: Triennial Review of the National Nanotechnology Initiative
from established materials and processes.3 According to that report, only a small fraction—less than $13 billion—of 2004 product revenues came from sales of innovative, emerging nanotechnologies, with $12 billion of those sales deriving from nano-enabled products. The Lux report predicted that by 2014, emerging nanotechnologies would be incorporated into all computers and consumer electronics devices, 23 percent of drugs, and 21 percent of automobiles and that nanotechnologies would result in $2.6 trillion in product revenue corresponding to 15 percent of global gross manufacturing output. It also predicted that products incorporating emerging nanotechnologies would constitute $920 billion in value added, accounting for 2 percent of global gross domestic product. The committee could not verify the basis for these estimates or determine how they might compare with other figures.
The 2004 Lux report estimated that the number of new jobs created by nanotechnology was relatively small in 2004, with approximately 1,200 nanotechnology start-up companies creating about 6,250 positions worldwide, mostly for Ph.D. researchers, and more established corporations adding 3,000 similarly qualified workers worldwide. Although the number of R&D jobs increased slightly in 2004, the number of manufacturing jobs did not change, suggesting that workers already employed in manufacturing jobs were transferred to jobs involving the manufacture of nano-enabled products. The Lux report did forecast that the number of manufacturing jobs involving nano-enabled products would grow in the next 10 years.
The committee notes, however, that nanotechnology, like virtually all other disruptive or enabling technologies, will lead to the destruction as well as the creation of jobs. The Lux report noted that as emerging nanotechnologies develop and come to market, improved nanotechnology products will also drive second- and third-order disruptions across industries. The resulting impacts will be challenging to predict. For instance, the availability of new nano-enabled lubricants that reduce maintenance requirements could lead to a significant decrease in the demand for auto services, but a decrease in demand for lower-value maintenance services could be offset by the benefits associated with production of lubricants Given that nanotechnology is now still in the earliest stages of discovery and development, assessing its economic impact is speculative, although the importance of developing measurable relevant indicators is clear.
An indication of the future trajectory of nanotechnology product development was provided to the committee by M.C. Roco of the National Science Foundation, who has described four overlapping generations of new nanotechnology products that can be expected to evolve from the systematic control and manufacture at the nanoscale.4 The first generation of products began to appear in 2001 in the form of passive nanostructures such as nanostructured coatings composed of dispersed