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Portrait of a woman
Maria Strömme is Professor of Nanotechnology at Uppsala University. At our New Year Conference she will argue that nanotechnology will be the driver of the next industrial revolution.

In Scandinavia, Maria Strømme is that rare breed: a famous professor. Her research within nanotechnology may provide solutions to many global problems – something that she will be discussing at SKAGEN’s New Year’s Conference in January 2019.

“The unique thing about nanotechnology is that it provides us with the tools to start using sustainable technological development in all industrial areas in which materials are being developed. We no longer need to squander all the raw materials the planet has given us; instead we can use new materials with entirely different properties,” says Professor Maria Strømme.

Game changer

Investors wishing to participate in the rapid development should pay particular attention to three areas, according to Strømme. She believes we are in the process of reaching saturation point in the development of computers. There remain important developments to be made within digitisation, robotisation and automation. These are the important end results of the technology phase.

“The next revolution is already underway, driven by nanotechnology or advanced materials technology, if you prefer,” says Strømme.

According to Strømme, it is a matter of:

  1. Fixing the long-term global energy supply, and finding new materials to harvest, store and transport energy in a sustainable way.
  2. Handling the rapid urbanisation we are now facing; as much as 75 percent of the world's population is expected to live in cities by 2050. Entirely new solutions are needed for maintenance-free infrastructure materials as well as energy-efficient transport solutions.
  3. Managing the demographic shift in a sustainable way for society. We are growing older at a rate that has never before been seen. We must develop materials and methods that can make a 70-80 year old body as young and functional as that of a 30-year-old. Nanotechnology can help us cure age-related diseases like cancer and perhaps most revolutionary, help the body to grow its own spare parts.

Towards 2050

"Over the past 300 years, about twice every 100 years, we have made material and technological discoveries that have changed our industry and lifestyle overall. All the problems we are trying to solve with nanotechnology today are linked to the major challenges humanity faces over the next ten years, and which will change our lives in the future,” says Strømme.

“We often look towards the year 2050. We will have solved many of the problems before that time, while others will take longer.”

So what should investors do with this insight?

“Investors should look for new, potentially revolutionary, material solutions and production methods. 3D and 4D printing can change the prerequisites of the manufacturing industry. New nanotechnological diagnostics and treatment methods will change the healthcare system. The methods for creating new solutions for energy storage and harvesting will change the energy sector. The clothing industry and urban development are other areas that will change over time.”

Further information

SKAGEN's New Year's Conference 2019

Interview with speaker John Cochrane: How to create a run-free financial system

Interview with speaker Anne Applebaum: Political risks in an age of uncertainty


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