Page 1

Nanotechnology in Brazilian firms: assessing potential implications for labor Dr. Noela Invernizzi UFPR Curitiba, Brazil Emerging Technologies/Emerging Economies: (Nano)Technologies for Equitable Development CNS-UCSB/Woodrow Wilson Center Washington D.C., November 4-6, 2009

Outline 1. Little research on nanotechnology implications for labor 2. Nanotechnology in Brazilian firms 3. How specific characteristics of nanotechnology affect labor: main trends 4. Conclusions

Nanotechnology • Disruptive technology - will render other technologies, products and productive sectors obsolete • Facilitating technology pervasive adoption among different sectors • Global development from the outset • Faster development than previous technological revolutions

These characteristics + historical experience technological change:

Labor demand (quantitative and qualitative changes) Labor distribution (sector/region/ global levels)

Nanotechnology-driven labor changes will affect conditions for equitable development There will be “winners and losers�, affecting the living conditions of the working class In spite of its importance, particularly for equity and policy matters, labor issues have deserved little attention within the social implications of nanotechnology discussion (except workplace risks)

Literature review: projections on workforce demands •

Roco (2003:1248) - 2 million direct + 5 million indirect jobs in nanotech will be required worldwide in 2015

Lux Research (Davies, 2008 :1).- 10 million jobs in 2014, or 11% of jobs in manufacturing worldwide

US Department of Labor (USDL, 2006) - 671,000 nanotechnology jobs available from 2006-2016 in the US

The range of estimates and projections suggests both that the numbers are not well constrained, and that rapid growth is anticipated.

Literature review: research in firms and job announcements • Possible scarcity of qualified labor (Malsch and Oud, 2004; Abicht et al., 2006; Singh, 2007)

• Current demands are still modest and concentrated in R&D (Stephan, Black, and Chang, 2007; Freeman and Shukla, 2008; Van Horn and Fichtner, 2008, Van Horn, Cleary and Fichtner, 2009)

• Jobs in manufacturing, quality control, documentation, marketing, and distribution starting to emerge (Abicht et al. 2006:38)

Literature review: raw materials/commodities substitution • Potential substitution of natural raw materials/ commodities by new nanotechnology materials will generate employment losses/changes concentrated in developing countries. (ETC Group, 2005; Meridian Institute, 2007)

Literature review: workforce education • New education needs, especially university education, to prepare the workforce (Roco, 2003; Whitesides, 2005; Batterson et al, 2005)

Brazil National Nanotechnology Policy: strategic position within STI policy and industrial policy • Leading country in nanotechnology research in Latin America, and first to implement a national policy • Nanotech Policy focuses on highly qualified workforce for R&D, and indicates the need for technical education • Contradiction between focus on competitiveness and little concern with workforce (in spite of the 90s’ industrial restructuring experience!) Labor issues • No research on labor implications (except on workplace risks) • Some unions, NGOs and Dieese manifested concerns

Current research* • How labor may be affected by the concrete new characteristics of nanotechnology innovations • Exploratory research based on nanotechnology products or advanced research in Brazilian firms • Previous historical trends help structure the exploration of this new situation * Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) (Award No. 400782/2008-1)

Brazilian companies with activities in nanotechnology Data • Companies with public funding (S&T Ministry) • Companies with publications or patents (Georgia Tech database - Kay & Shapira, 2009; Kay, Invernizzi & Shapira, 2009) • Internet search: companies’ webpages, Nanotech Expos, industry publications, research and innovation news.

• 131 companies identified; 110 with reasonable information

Profile of Brazilian companies with activities in nanotechnology Brazilian private State-owned or mix capital:




Multinational subsidiaries:


18 spin offs/incubated

Federal Funding for nanotechnology: 54 In cooperation with Universities or public research centers: 72

Geographical distribution 1 1


1 3


3 10 54 5



12 n.d. 3

Which sectors are active in nanotechnology in Brazil?

Status of nanotechnology activities in selected sectors

• Brazil is dynamically engaged in nanotechnology • Firms are already commercializing products • Labor force affected by nanotech production is still reduced, and limited to some innovative companies in some sectors

How does nanotechnology affect labor?

Based on the analysis of these companies’ nanotechnology products, 5 main trends were identified (analytical separation, but trends overlap) (no other implications of these products were considered)

1. Substitution of existing products for new, more efficient nanotech products that serve the same purpose Thermo plastic resin Brasken DEPTÂŽ Contech Produtos BiodegradĂĄveis Solid material with nanostructured synthetic clay for environmental remediation Eliminates 95 % color from effluents (compared to 50 % using activated carbon). Recyclable, can be used several times.

Topic Anesthetic Biolab Sanus A biodegradable capsule transports the drug to the nervous terminals of the skin (not to blood), reducing collateral effects. Advantages: reduction of the dose, more rapid action, longer therapeutic action.

Plastics 4 times more resistant to impacts, 30% more rigid, and 30% lighter. Increased resistance to heat. Moisturizing and Cellulite Lotions Bio Medicin Liposomes designed to carry active substances to desired skin levels, penetrating further. Better results.

Implications for labor • New competitiveness environment • Some companies will succeed in engaging nanotechnology innovation, attracting workers, maybe in different regions, probably demanding new skills, and others will fail, and jobs will be lost. • In some cases, as in petrochemical: innovation + centralization of K. • Decisive role of imports for labor creation/destruction

2. Multifunctional products/ Fusion of branches of production Textile + cosmetics

Textile + Protection Equipment

Nouwell E CHT Brasil Quimica

Cedro Tech Cedro Textil

Fabric that transfers Vitamin E to the skin: anti-aging, antioxidant, free-radical protection, moisturizing, antiodor.

Food +Pharma+Cosmetics Bio-active and Functional Ingredients Funcional Mikron Encapsulated Omega 3, collagen, probiotics, chitosan, iron phosphate, calcium, green tea extract, etc., to be added to drinks, food and cosmetics.

Uniforms became IPE: Confortable clothes + water repelent, stain resistant, fire resistant, chemical agents resistant, and antistatic properties

Implications for labor • Convergence of productive sectors and reconfiguration of productive chains will lead to: - Workforce shifts between sectors - Probable reduction of direct jobs (merging of productive processes) - Reduction of related activities of marketing, storage, distribution, commercialization * Job reduction may be in absolute or relative terms compared with previous production conditions.

3. Maintenance operations embedded into the product / reduced maintenance needs NANOX速BARRIER Nanox Nanostructured coating that protects surfaces against corrosion and abrasion, particularly those caused by high temperatures. Extends equipment life and reduces maintenance. NANOX速CLEAN Nanostructured coating with biocide properties. Facilitates cleaning up and sterilization processes.

Refractory bricks Magnesita High performance refractory bricks with nanostructured materials for blast furnaces. More durable, reduce blast furnaces maintenance.

Nanum速 Glass Coating Nanum Nanoparticled TiO2 coating for glass. Hydrophilic, self cleaning when exposed to solar light. Varnish with Nanoparticled Zinc Oxide and Nano-aluminum. UV protection, scratch resistant.

Implications for labor • Reduced maintenance jobs in industry • Some of these products will end up reducing jobs in services such as washing, cleaning, polishing, painting, repairing, etc.

4 (a). Substitution of current raw materials by nano-materials Carbon nanotubes NTC – UFMG Excellent electric conductivity, increased mechanic resistance compared to steel (100 X), flexibility and elasticity.

Resins with nanoparticles Nova PetroquĂ­mica (ex Suzano) Transparent polymers substitute for glass in home appliances.

Polypropylene with nanoparticles Polibrasil Used instead of metals in car lateral parts, motor parts, and other car components.

Heat resistant resins -substitute for copper in hot water pipes.

Steel and other metals, glass fiber, glass, plastics, chemicals (solvents, pigments)

4 (b). Reduced demand for natural products Extension of life spam

Imitation Image (fabric) Santista Produced with specials fibers and nanomaterials. Fine visual appearence and smoth touch like a woolen fabric, excellent hidrofility, fast drying.

Enhanced outcomes Functional ingredients Funcional Micron Encapsulated ingredients require considerable less quantities of materials and provide significant increase in flavor, smell, biodisponibility, biocompatibility, etc.

Edible films Embrapa Films made of organic materials and nanoparticles extend life spam of fresh fruits up to 20 days. Thermo plastic nanocomposites Oxiteno Packages that allow conservation of food for longer periods.

Implications for labor • Changes in international division of labor • Natural raw materials substitution will affect labor intensive sectors concentrated in developing countries • Changes in jobs distribution among sectors

5. Advances in self-control/automation Electronic Tongue Embrapa

Labels Novel Print

Sensors array based on nanostructured films of conductor polymers, which can “taste� (with a sensibility 10.000 times superior to humans) acidity, toxicity, and other properties in wine, coffee, juices, etc.

Adhesive labels with nanotechnology identify if foods or drinks are proper for consumption Intelligent packages Embrapa Package indicates food contamination or changes in conservation conditions. Active packages interact with food content eliminating bacterial activity.

Intelligent fluid for drilling Petrobras Intelligent fluid with nanoparticles changes its viscosity depending on water conditions while drilling in deep waters. Facilitates operation of the drill and avoids tool change stops.

Implications for labor • Objectivation of human activities in production, quality control and distribution tends to reduce direct labor force demand.

Conclusions  Nanotechnology is being gradually absorbed into existing industrial processes through incremental innovations. Its precise effects on labor are still difficult to evaluate. More research is needed.  However, specific characteristics of nanotechnology innovation such as: -

Enhanced product properties Multifunctional products Embedded/reduced maintenance Changes in raw materials Self-control/automation

help to anticipate some ways in which labor may be affected.

Conclusions Major forces: - Labor shifts between branches of production that can be associated with changes in labor force geographical distribution and different skills demands - Reduced demand of labor in production and services - Nano-jobs creation? Yes, depending on competitiveness, imports, and restructuring trends. But ‌ Labor compensation theory? No, innovation goal is to enhance productivity, not to create jobs.

Major inequality risks : • Job losses (agravated if major imports occur) • Uneskilled/unprepared workforce

Thank you! Obrigada! Latin American Nanotechnology and Society Network Nanotechnology, Society and Development Research Group

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you