The Journal of Technology Transfer

, Volume 34, Issue 3, pp 320–342 | Cite as

Research and standardisation in nanotechnology: evidence from Germany

  • Knut BlindEmail author
  • Stephan Gauch


Nanoscience and nanotechnology are science fields which are growing extremely dynamically. Germany occupies the top position in Europe and is only second to the US worldwide, which can be attributed to growing research promotion by the state. Based on a general conceptual framework on the role of different types of standards in the research process and technology life cycle, we argue that the market success of nanotechnology applications depends very much on the development of corresponding standards, which clarify not only terminology, measurement and testing methods, but also regulate safety and health aspects and specify interfaces. Other countries, European and international standardisation organisations have launched first initiatives rather early. However, Germany was not able to translate its excellent starting position in nanotechnology research into a leading position in standardisation initiatives, which pave the way for future commercialisation of nanotechnology and also the basis for the next generation of research activities. Based on a survey among stakeholders of German nanotechnology research, we are able not only to provide a first empirical validation of our conceptual model on the role of standards in the research process, but also to define the major problems at the interface between research and standardisation, and finally, to recommend possible options for their solution.


Nanotechnology Research Standards Technology transfer Policies 

JEL Classifications

O31 O33 L15 



The research undertaken for the paper was co-funded by the European Commission under the 6th Framework Programme with the project INTEREST (Integrating Research and Standardisation), contract no. 503 594. Furthermore, the authors thank two anonymous referees for valuable comments to improve the paper. However, the presented content is in the sole responsibility of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Economics and Management, Chair of Innovation EconomicsBerlin University of TechnologyBerlinGermany
  2. 2.Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation ResearchKarlsruheGermany

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