Economic impact of nanotechnologies

© Sonia Boukaia-Murari -
© Sonia Boukaia-Murari -

Nanotechnologies have the potential to create long-term positive economic developments and to secure existing as well as new jobs. Their use will help to determine the technological performance of the production site in Germany and its future position with regards to international competition. The extremely wide application spectrum of these innovative cross-sectional technologies means there are impacts to almost all areas of life (DGUV Positionspapier 2010).

Germany is the leader in nanotechnology across Europe and ranked third behind the USA and Japan. Germany also has a top position in research and development (rank four in terms of scientific publications). In terms of patent applications, Germany occupies the third place after the USA and Japan (BSI 2007). Germany is also successful in implementing research results (BMBF 2011).

In Germany, currently (2017) about 2000 institutions deal with nanotechnologies. Roughly half of those are companies ( An analysis of the technological subfields of the institutions reveals that nanomaterials are the most frequently represented before nanotechnologies, nanoanalytics and nanobiotechnology (BMBF 2013). Nanotechnologies have created more than 70,000 new jobs in Germany (BMBF 2013). The worldwide generated turnover of German companies dealing with nanotechnologies amounted to approximately EUR 33 billion in 2007 (BMBF 2009).

The economic impact of nanotechnologies is highly dependent on the industry. In the varnish and paint industry, nanotechnologies can be used to improve conventional varnishes. These so-called "smart coatings" are supposed to account for up to 20% of the total industry turnover in Germany by 2020.