The US arguably leads the world in nanoscale research. Over $770 million was dedicated to the National Nanotechnology Initiative in 2003, with a 9.5% increase promised for 2004. The House of Representatives has just approved a bill that plans to allocate $2.36 billion to nanotech programs over the next three years. Europe has a long way to go to catch up but, realizing what could be at stake, is taking steps on a national and international level to ensure that the US does not take the lion’s share of the potentially valuable nano-based industrial sector that is beginning to emerge.

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DOI: 10.1016/S1369-7021(03)00731-4