Nanotechnology conference to be held in Winston-Salem
Nov 22, 2012 (Winston-Salem Journal - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
For the first time, the Nanotech Commercialization Conference will be held in Winston-Salem.
The conference, which is in its fifth year, is aimed at spurring more research and business collaboration. It will be held April 9-10 at Wake Forest BioTech Place.
It is expected to attract more than 250 attendees and more than 50 speakers, of which there will be a significant Triad representation.
Nanobiotechnology is the science of developing materials at the atomic and molecular level and then using them to develop products and devices.
Hosting the conference "gives us the opportunity to again spotlight the opportunities in advanced manufacturing, coupled with advanced materials development that our community offers," said David Carroll, director of the Center for Nanotechnology Molecular Materials at the university.
Carroll defined advanced functional materials as "the foundation of new technologies that are manufacturing based."
"Unlike software, or service industry technologies, many of the products that form tomorrow's technologies -- lighting, solar, green power generation, building materials, automotive and heavy equipment, communications infrastructure -- they all require the development of new materials to do things we couldn't do yesterday," Carroll said.
"Indeed, this is the core of the American enterprise in manufacturing."
The conference aims to help researchers, business officials and investors better understand what each brings to the nanotech table, said John Harden, executive director of the N.C. Commerce Department's Office of Science & Technology.
"Beyond researchers explaining their technology, you will have business officials and investors share their expertise in commercializing research," Harden said.
Eric Tomlinson, president of Piedmont Triad Research Park, said the conference is evidence that the local life-science community is becoming a beacon for mid-sized meetings focused on advanced sciences, such as those being developed at Wake Forest.
"We are setting out to brand PTRP as a place where such bleeding-edge technologies and their commercialization can be discussed and showcased," Tomlinson said.
"It's all part of building the innovation eco-system in Winston-Salem for supporting the growth of high-tech companies and leading academic centers."
The conference is another recognition of the Triad's expanding role in nanotechnology and biotechnology, officials say, which includes the N.C. Center of Innovation in Nanobiotechnology in Greensboro. The center is a collaborative initiative of Wake Forest, N.C. AT&T State University and UNC Greensboro.
Gayle Anderson, president and chief executive of Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce, calls the nanotech conference a "wonderful opportunity for us to showcase Winston-Salem as a city of arts and technology to a very important business segment.
"It will help us cement our position as a leader in nanotechnology in the Southeast and give visibility to the research park as a viable place for businesses to start up, locate and expand."
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