May 18, 2011

Quake Moves Event To Albany

By: by Larry Rulison, Business Writer, Times Union


ALBANY -- Tragedy in Japan led to a major nanotechnology conference being moved to Albany this week.

The University at Albany's College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering is hosting the International Nanotechnology Conference on Communication and Cooperation -- also known as INC7, since it is the seventh year that the event has been held.

The conference was originally scheduled to be held in Tsukuba, Japan, but the earthquake and tsunami that rocked eastern Japan in March necessitated the move to another location.

The NanoCollege was originally supposed to host the four-day event next year, so it was moved to Albany -- although it wasn't easy, said NanoCollege spokesman Steve Janack.

"It's no small undertaking to put together a conference of this magnitude," Janack said. "But it has all come together pretty well."

Janack said 150 people -- mostly high-level corporate executives and government and academic leaders from across the world -- had registered and are staying in the Capital Region this week. Last year's event was held in Grenoble, France.

The NanoCollege, which has raised its profile significantly over the last several years, is now hosting four to five such conferences a year. Those who attend pay for hotel rooms, meals and often host meetings at local restaurants, Janack said.

"It's a significant local economic impact," Janack said.

One of the organizers of INC7 is Paolo Gargini, director of technology strategy for computer chip manufacturing powerhouse Intel Corp.

Gargini says that the conference, which is designed to get the industry to collaborate together, was created in the aftermath of the creation of the National Nanotechnology Initiative in 2000 under President Bill Clinton.

Since that time, the federal government has spent more than $16 billion on nanotechnology initiatives through the NNI.

The first INC conference was held in 2005 in San Francisco as a way to share ideas globally among the U.S. and other countries. Nanotechnology, which is science at the molecular level, is best known for advancing the field of microelectronics and computer chips, but it is increasingly being used for advances in medicine and other fields like national defense.

Gargini was involved as an organizer from the very beginning, along with Mihail Roco, a senior adviser of nanotechnology for the National Science Foundation, a major contributor to the National Nanotechnology Initiative.

Roco was also at the NanoCollege on Monday for the conference, which ends Thursday.

Roco said Monday that the NanoCollege is an ideal host for the conference because it is a unique institution where academics and corporations work side-by-side.

"They're positioned in a very good location," Roco said. "They are in a very good position for development. There's nothing compared to it."

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