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In April, the University of Toronto's Joint Centre for Bioethics published a report on the ten applications of nanotechnology that experts from the South thought would have the greatest impact on sustainable development (see Big development role for tiny technology, says study).

In this interview, co-author Fabio Salamanca-Buentello discusses the report's conclusions, including the suggestion to create a 'global challenges' initiative to boost research into nanotechnologies for developing countries.

Salamanca-Buentello, a Mexican based in Canada, says developing country researchers who seek training in the North are best placed to be "bridges between both worlds" because they understand the needs of their countries of origin.

He also argues that it is in the best interest of rich countries to help the less fortunate.

If you want more people to buy your products, he says, you need to ensure they have the money to do so. And the best way of doing this is to boost science and technology in the South.

It's not that rich countries are the only ones who can do science and technology, he concludes, "but that science and technology is what makes a country rich".

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Read more about nanotechnology in SciDev.Net's nanotechnology quick guide.