Nanotechnology is a growing field, but companies in the industry face challenges raising capital and attracting talented employees, executives said this week at a forum on nanotechnology at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg.
Nanotechnology focuses on forming micro-particles to make devices smaller, with applications ranging from medicine to industry and consumer goods. The Maryland Technology Development Corp., Montgomery County Department of Economic Development and Federal Laboratory Consortium were other sponsors.
At Pixelligent Technologies, a College Park nanotechnology business, only about 25 percent of the company’s 13 employees were recruited from the U.S., CEO Craig Bandes said. More than half of Pixelligent’s work force came from China, he said.
“We are not having a lot of success in developing employees [for nanotech] in this country,” Bandes said.
Raising capital and attracting qualified employees are probably the two biggest challenges for nanotech companies, said Vincent Caprio, executive director of the NanoBusiness Alliance in Skokie, Ill. “We don’t have the people here to work in a nanotech factory,” he said.
The federal government has been the most important investor in nanotechnology so far, and the growth of the industry is expected to be significant in the future, leading to a need for a more technologically advanced work force, Bandes said.
“If government and private industry here can’t get it right, we run the risk of losing a lot of high-paying jobs to South Korea, China, Japan and other countries,” he said