For America, nanotechnology is the largest federally funded science initiative since the country decided to put a man on the moon. In 2004, the American government spent $1.6 billion on it, well over twice as much as it did on the Human Genome Project at its peak. In 2005, it is planning to shell out a further $982m. Japan is the next biggest spender, and other parts of Asia as well as Europe have also joined the funding race (see chart 2). Perhaps surprisingly, the contenders include many developing countries, such as India, China, South Africa and Brazil.
That's not so surprising, really, as nanotechnology research is relatively inexpensive, and offers an opportunity to leapfrog countries with strong positions in established technology. (Via Howard Lovy, whose blog is a must-read for nanotechnology enthusiasts).