from the April 2014 issue

206 nanotech start-ups have been founded in the past six years

In the six years since nanotechnology was declared a national research priority, government agencies have invested $107 million in the industry, says the Israel National Nanotechnology Initiative (INNI) in its first summary of the industry ahead of the Nano-Israel 2014 Conference in late March.

INNI committee member Dan Vilenski says that, in this six-year period, 206 nanotech start-ups have been founded and 860 patent applications have been filed, of which 270 have been approved. There are also 830 joint projects between Israeli academic institutions and Israeli and foreign companies in the field.

In addition, 101 world-class nanotech scientists have immigrated to Israel, joining university faculties, and there are 220 post-doctoral fellows, 750 doctoral students, and 850 M.Sc. students. In the past six years, more than 7,500 scientific papers have been published, of which 1,500 papers were based on inter-university research.

INNI has not disclosed comparative figures with any preceding period, but in absolute terms it seems that the government support has generated big activity. "Nanotech companies are working in a range of fields, exploiting the unique characteristics of nanotechnology to improve their current products and to enter new fields. There are 10-15 fairly large companies with nanotech activity, such as Elbit Systems Ltd. (Nasdaq: ESLT; TASE: ESLT), Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd., Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. (IAI) (TASE: ARSP.B1), Israel Chemicals Ltd. (TASE: ICL), Applied Materials Inc. (Nasdaq: AMAT), Intel Corporation (Nasdaq: INTC), armor kits maker Plasan Sasa Ltd., and Keter Plastics Ltd., and Vulcan Batteries Ltd. (TASE:VCLA). There are also small and mid-sized businesses that are sharing the pie that is projected to grow in the coming years as nanotech matures and develop seeks industrial applications."

INNI says that nanotech's industrial scale is still minute, at only a few million dollars, but that with the right support, it believes that Israel can become a leader in a $1 trillion market.

Reprinted from the Israel High-Tech & Investment Report April 2014

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