Funds paucity hits Pak surge in nanotech research

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STAFF REPORT KHI: Nanotechnology research in Pakistan, which had shown a trend of higher publication numbers over the last decade, has suffered from the countrys present financial crisis, a study said.
In 2008 the government did not extend the term of the National Commission for Nanoscience and Technology, initially set up in 2003 for three years and later extended for two more years.
The study, published online in Scientometrics, said that research publications in the field had grown from seven in 2000 to an impressive 542 papers in 2011, registering a 29 per cent annual growth rate.
This is higher than the average annual growth rate of 23 per cent registered globally, said Rizwan Sarwar Bajwa, Research Associate at the Preston Institute of Nanoscience and Technology in Islamabad who, together with his colleague Khwaja Yaldram, had carried out the study.
The study attributed the spurt in research and publications to heavy government spending on manpower training and procuring the latest equipment for laboratories working in the field.
“Unfortunately, the present financial crunch faced by the country could have a negative impact on the progress achieved so far,” the study concluded.
“The publication shows that despite availability of funding, the research and development institutes contributed very little in the field of nanoscience and nanotechnology,” Bajwa, lead author of the study.
If developing countries such as Pakistan do not engage in basic research in nanoscience, they will end up as consumers of hi-tech products from other countries, he said.


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