In a series of rankings of university nanotechnology programs by Small Times, a trade magazine devoted to nanotechnology, Cornell ranked in the top 10 in eight out of nine categories, and in the top five in six categories, leading all universities overall.
Small Times sent questionnaires to 100 universities, and 50 responded. They asked universities to rate their peers and to report data about their own programs. In peer rankings, Cornell was rated second in nanotechnology research, fifth in micro research (a little bit larger scale), fifth in micro commercialization, and sixth in nano commercialization.
In rankings based on self-reporting, Cornell was rated first for nanotechnology commercialization, second for facilities, fourth for nanotechnology research and 10th for industrial outreach.
"It's a very satisfying validation of our faculty, staff and facilities," said Joseph Burns, the Irving Porter Church Professor of Engineering and vice provost for physical sciences and engineering. "I'm delighted that Cornell leads the nation's universities in a research area that policy-makers have identified as crucial for America's competitiveness. We've invested heavily in facilities and faculty support, and these rankings show that our investments have been wisely spent."
Burns said he was especially pleased with the peer ratings but noted that data on the self-reporting questionnaires needs to be refined.
For example, Cornell did not appear in the top 10 for nanotechnology education, but this probably reflects the fact that Cornell has fewer courses specifically labeled as "nanotechnology," according to Abby Westervelt, director of corporate and foundation relations in the College of Engineering. "I don't think the rankings begin to capture the scope of what we do in nanotechnology education because we are so interdisciplinary, and nanotechnology is integrated into so many courses," Westervelt explained.