The market analyst company has used the numbers to rank the ability of countries to capitalize on their investment in nanotechnology and translate research funding into an economic benefit.

Highlights

•  With US government funding of nanotechnology receding slightly in 2011, Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) estimates indicate that for the first time, China will spend more than the US to fund nanotechnology.

•  In the last 11 years, governments around the world have invested more than US$67.5 billion in nanotechnology funding. When corporate research and various other forms of private funding are taken into account, nearly a quarter of a trillion dollars will have been invested in nanotechnology by 2015.

•  Corporate research and private funding were thought to have surpassed government funding figures as far back as 2004. But this year, according to Cientifica’s estimates, in PPP terms China will spend US$2.25 billion in nanotechnology research while the US will spend US$2.18 billion. In real dollar terms, adjusted for currency exchange rates, China is only spending about US$1.3 billion to the US’s $2.18 billion.

•  This appears to be a temporary hiccup in US dominance in public funding of nanotechnology with the US again taking the lead next year even in PPP terms, spending $2.46 billion with China allotting $2.2 billion.

•  Cientifica's index of countries' ability to take advantage of emerging technologies indicates that the US, Germany, Taiwan and Japan have the combination of academic excellence, technology-hungry companies, skilled workforces and the availability of early stage capital to ensure effective technology transfer.

•  When combined with levels of nanotechnology funding, the US is still the place to be, although China and Russia are increasingly attractive. The UK and India struggle at the bottom of the league.

A PDF version of the report can be downloaded here.