MOSCOW, December 15 (RIA Novosti)--Russia's government is to decide by March whether to launch a Federal Target Program for nanotechnology, Education and Science Minister Andrei Fursenko said Thursday.
"By March we will decide whether we need to create a new program or simply set out our priorities under the existing framework," he said.
Levels of government investment into nanotechnology - the science of dealing with matter on an ultra-small scale - have been the subject of criticism, notably from physicist Zhores Alferov, a member of parliament and Nobel Prize winner.
In April, Alferov told a round-table discussion at the Federation Council, Russia's upper house of parliament, that nanotechnology was key to developments in cutting-edge sectors such as electronics, but that Russia lagged behind the competition in funding its research.
Development work in the nanotechnology sector currently comes under the Research and Development program, on which Russia has spent 1.4bln rubles ($49mln) in 2005, Fursenko said.
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The main event of the third day of the 11th meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club in Sochi was the closing session with President Vladimir Putin. The atmosphere was calm and open, despite the current political tensions and the Russia-West confrontation. The Russian president said that it corresponded to the spirit of the Valdai Club.