An innovative partnership for the development of nanotechnology in a developing country

E. Posada, D. Mojica
Hatch Indisa,
Colombia

Keywords: nanotechnology, Innovation Ecosystem, cooperation projects strategy, university, state, alliances

Summary:

Colombia is a developing Latin American country which is making various efforts to enhance its human talent and generate value and prosperity based in science and advanced technology. Medellín, a pioneer city in this sense, has built a unique innovation ecosystem based in a cultural and cooperative approach including state, social, academic and industrial stakeholders, by means of Ruta N, a non-profit corporation supported by the city mayor's office and some important state companies. Ruta N aims to be the innovation and business center of the city, developing programs to facilitate economic development, intensive businesses in science, technology, and innovation, in an inclusive and sustainable way. Ruta N defined Nanotechnology as a strategic area of work, which led to the creation of the so-called Nano IRI (Regional Innovation Initiative on nanotechnology) which has been working hand in hand with universities, companies, state institutions and interested individuals. After several years and interactions supported by scientific and technological centers from USA and Europe, this has resulted in the recent creation of a CENTRO NACIONAL DE NANOTECNOLOGÍA (National Nanotechnology Center) and to many cooperative efforts around the development of Nano technology. Hatch Indisa is a projects engineering company from Colombia, which is part of the international HATCH group. The company understood the convenience of working in nanotechnology, taking advantage of the local initiatives and has been allied with the IRI since 2013. This has allowed it, in a very short time, to develop various projects in the company, in collaboration with local universities, focused on industrial applications and in finding new opportunities for expanding its design and manufacturing capacities. Hatch Indisa has generated an important alliance with the University of Antioquia, a center of excellence in nanotechnological research, with which it is developing reactors for continuous synthesis of nanoparticles and nanotubes and catalytic systems for the elimination of VOC's and pollutants. In the same way, it has been working with another prestigious local university, EAFIT, on nanostructured filtration systems. In the development of these projects, the company has established a research group recognized by COLCIENCIAS, the state entity that promotes science in the country. With all this, the company has had access to funds that support science, technology and innovation, granted by various entities, in addition to COLCIENCIAS and has developed advanced education programs in science and research for several of its project engineers. All this has generated a greater spirit of innovation throughout the company, which has 350 people. This report points out the most relevant aspects of the collaborative work developed and sets out the goals and possibilities that are open for the region and for the company as the National Nanotechnology Center becomes a reality.