Regional Effort Aims to Lure Nanotech Biz

A proposed regional nanotech center called NanoVox would work to connect researchers and entrepreneurs from throughout the Midwest.

A push to connect researchers and businesses and to give the Upper Midwest an internationally known reputation for nanotechnology is being backed by some in Minnesota, according to a report by Minnesota Public Radio.

The challenge for attracting research dollars and jobs: The industry is very competitive, and states like New York, Texas, and Ohio are more actively working to attract nanotech jobs.

Steve Campbell, director of the nanofabrication center at the University of Minnesota, told MPR that nanotechnology-the engineering of products on the molecular scale-will affect nearly every industry and impacts major Minnesota companies like Maplewood-based 3M Company and Fridley-based Medtronic, Inc.

There is reportedly a growing effort to build a regional nanotech center, called NanoVox, that would encompass Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, the Dakotas, and maybe Manitoba, Canada. The organization would work to connect researchers and entrepreneurs with compatible interests.

Lynne Osterman, executive director of MN Nano, a nonprofit designed to develop nanotech jobs in Minnesota, told MPR that Minnesota and its neighboring Midwestern states each have different incentives for economic development and often compete for jobs.

Joe Ward, who runs a Hudson, Wisconsin business that makes nano particles to color printer ink, hopes the initiative will encourage states to implement consistent economic development incentives, according to MPR.

Click here to read more from MPR about the region's nanotech industry and see the initial reactions to the NanoVox initiative.