Geography of knowledge production in nanotechnologies: a flat world with many hills and mountains

Research Area: Emerging technologies Year: 2009
Type of Publication: Article
  • Aurélie Delemarle
  • Bernard Kahane
  • Lionel Villard
  • Philippe Laredo
Journal: Nanotechnology Law & Business Volume: 6
Number: 1
This article explores the worldwide geographic concentration of scientific production in nanotechnology. Using a database of more than 538,000 publications from the period of 1998-2006, a cluster approach is used to show knowledge production is concentrated such that more than 90% occurs in two hundred discrete geographic clusters. This strong concentration reveals an uncommon world picture where national frontiers are challenged, and where new actors—mainly located in Asia—are displaying a strong presence and increasing growth. The relationships between cluster visibility and thematic presence are analyzed, as is the extent to which nanotechnology clusters are superimposed on the locations of previous technological waves. Public policy consequences related to the manner in which clusters are dispersed throughout the world are discussed.