Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) is an intergovernmental organization involving seven Asian and three Eurasian nations. It provides a platform to discuss ways to improve development, promote trade, and investment opportunities. Because of the common geographical and cultural features of ECO countries, collaboration in different fields such as education, research, development, trade, and industry will necessarily bring significant advantages to the region.
One of 21st century’s most promising technologies is nanotechnology. This science of nanoscale structures deals with the creation, investigation and utilization of systems that are 1000 times smaller than the components currently used in the field of microelectronics. Nanotechnology is going to have a big impact on the future by its broad range of application in different industries (see Figure 1) and creating value added on them. So, it is necessary for all countries specially developing countries to in-vest in this advanced technology. It seems nanotechnology could be an ideal solution for ECO countries to develop and promote their industries and economies. In this line, it is necessary to first study the status of each country regarding nanotechnology based achievements. Such profiles help scientists, technologists and policy makers to know potentials, facilities, experts and research centers in all ECO countries.
To develop nanotechnology in ECO countries, ECO Nanotechnology Network was established in 2009. The main goal of the Network is to strengthen cooperation among ECO countries in nanotechnological re-search, development and commercialization. The experiences of the member states would synergize development measures and policy formulation on nanotechnology in such sectors as public health, employment, occupational safety, information society, industry, innovation, environment, energy, transport and security.
In this regard, in the first place, it is necessary to gather information about potentials and strengths of ECO countries in nanotechnology (identifying and determining the potential collaboration) in five layers of science, technology, education, industry and market. Therefore, in phase zero, it needs to survey nanotechnology related research centers, researchers, funds, active industries and companies as well as any other collaboration in ECO countries. It is to be mentioned that inaccessibility to official information due to poor communication channels specifically in the field of trade can lead us to limit the report only to the official ones without practical outcomes. In the next phases, more information can be obtained by identifying focal points in member countries and mobilizing needed resources.
Figure 1 Nanotechnology applications in different industries
The results illustrate that Iran has the highest number of nanotechnology publications and USPTO granted patents and Turkey has the highest number of EPO granted patents among ECO members. Table 1and Table 2 show the ECO members nanotechnology publications between 2001-2015.
Table 1 Nanotechnology publications in ECO countries (2001-2015)
Table 2. USPTO and EPO granted nanotechnology patents in ECO countries (2001-Oct. 2015)
In terms of statistics related to trade and industry sections, although there were many informal scattered sources of information, those were not ac-curate and reliable enough regarding the share of nanotechnology in the industry and market. Hence, these data were left for the other versions of the report after data validation by each member countries. It is to be not-ed that the gathered data were only based on reliable sources in the last quarter of 2015, focusing more on general commercial transactions, not just from the nanotechnology point of view. For example, in import/export section, no statistics were available regarding the nanotechnology industry. Hence, the presented data are all limited to the general rate of export/import as well as the high-tech rate of export/import where the data were available. Regarding trade collaborations such as export and import related issues, among ECO countries four of them namely Turkey, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan have made and maintained more strong relationship with all ECO countries. After them Azerbaijan, Iran, and Uzbekistan, have made a good bonding with eight and six countries as well. The other countries as Tajikistan, Afghanistan, and Turkmenistan have relationship only with five ECO members based on the available data gathered. In the following, information as to the volume of export/ import among these countries will be illustrated. The top ex-port/import products from all countries and not just Eco countries will also be shown which in turn will provide a tangible insight to the areas in which the collaboration can be expanded as well as the areas in which countries seem to be in need or active in the field of import/export.
At the end, any comments from the member states that can improve the level of the presented data in this report are welcome.