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For Immediate Release
Tuesday, May 19, 2006
For More Information:
Edye Fineman
(609) 984-1671

Project to Create Industry Access to Nanotechnology Equipment

TrentonThe New Jersey Commission on Science and Technology today announced $500,000 in funding to support the creation of NJ NANO @ RU, a nanotechnology facility at the Institute for Advanced Materials and Devices located at Rutgers University in New Brunswick. This investment creates the opportunity for the collaborative use of the facility, which includes equipment and expert support, by research universities and industry in New Jersey.

The NJ NANO @ RU funding will leverage over $5 million in existing state-of-the-art equipment obtained through donations and federal grants and allow for the acquisition of new equipment, including the most powerful microscope in New Jersey. All of this equipment will be accessible to universities and corporations throughout the state.

“Nanotechnology is a revolutionary science that will benefit business and industry throughout our state and will help create new, high paying jobs and promote economic growth,” said Commission Chairman Donald L. Drakeman “New Jersey has always been on the forefront of scientific advancement, and this investment will help expand the state’s current leadership position to include the promising field of nanotechnology.”

The Commission announced the funding at its quarterly meeting held today at Thomas Edison State College. It also released a report outlining the economic opportunities nanotechnology creates for the state.

The report, Nanotechnology: Assets and Opportunities for New Jersey, indicates that nanotechnology is expected to have a major impact in many key industries in which New Jersey is currently an international leader, including the pharmaceutical industry.

Nanotechnology is the science of creating and building with materials about the size of a nanometer; a nanometer is the size of a few atoms, a human hair, for example, is 80,000 nanometers wide. Nanotech can be applied to a wide range of uses from helping tennis balls keep their bounce to keeping soldiers safe from biohazards.

In New Jersey, nanotechnology is likely to be used over the next five years to build stronger and lighter materials for automotive and aerospace applications, create wound dressings that contain antibacterial nano-particles, and develop more efficient ways to generate energy. Nanotechnology offers advancements in hydrogen storage and fuel cells, telecom and new methods of manufacturing drugs.

The Commission’s $500,000 investment in NJ NANO @ RU creates an infrastructure to facilitate collaborations that will result in the understanding of nanoscale phenomena and facilitate the commercial application of this knowledge.

NJ NANO @ RU will coordinate the use of equipment and thereby make it possible to address the needs of New Jersey industries in a more effective and integrated manner. The nanotech facility at Rutgers will be used by numerous industries including petrochemical companies, the pharmaceutical industry, the biotechnology sector, the microelectronic industry and energy enterprises.

"This initiative is intended to become a major signature program for the university and the state, attracting investment, spurring economic development in the region and improving the lives of the citizens of New Jersey,” said Rutgers University president Richard McCormick. “We are extremely grateful to the Commission on Science and Technology for providing this key funding."  

According to the National Science Foundation, the market in the United States for products and services based on nanotechnology could exceed $1 trillion by 2015.

New Jersey is home to more than 50 companies that are generating patents and receiving federal research and development grants in nanotechnology. In addition, more than150 university faculty, 125 postdoctoral fellows and close to 400 graduate students are engaged in interdisciplinary nanotechnology research in New Jersey.

Also during today’s meeting, the Commission awarded nearly $2.5 million to 18 technology companies, including $695,000 in New Jersey Technology Fellowships for companies hiring New Jersey PhD students

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NJCST, established in 1985, is responsible for the development and oversight of policies and programs promoting science and technology research and entrepreneurship in New Jersey.  Commission members include business leaders, university leaders, scientists, the Secretary of Commerce and Economic Growth Commission, the Commissioner of Education, a representative of the Governor and four legislators.

For more information and to access the report Nanotechnology: Assets and Opportunities for New Jersey,  visit the Commission’s website at http://www.state.nj.us/scitech/.