The government appears to be taking notice of the huge potential of nanotechnology to improve industrial competitiveness.
The Ministry of National Education will provide Rp 250 billion ($26.5 million) to fund nanotech research and development through 2010.
The Ministry of Industry will provide another Rp 15 billion.
“We will fund 60 studies on nanotech, as this is a sector that is taking off in the developed world,” said Deddy Mulyadi, head of the research and development division at the Industry Ministry.
Deddy said the Indonesian Nanotechnology Society — which is staffed by industry representatives and academics — would join ministry officials and five companies that use nanotech to sign an agreement today on ways to jointly develop the new technology for industrial purposes.
Deddy did not elaborate on what form that cooperation might take.
“The challenge now is to foster positive communications between the R&D sector on the one hand and industry on the other,” he said.
Nanotechnology involves the manipulation of matter on an atomic and molecular scale, as well as the development of materials and devices at that level.
It generally deals with structures of a size 100 nanometers or smaller. A nanometer is equal to one-billionth of a meter.
Ceramics, textiles, food, energy, information technology and communications are among the sectors that could benefit from nanotech, Deddy said.
“For example, Indonesian textile producer Bellini already exports goods that use nanotechnology in their production processes,” he said.
“They were able to secure prices that are 70 percent higher than comparative products on the international market.”