Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

Nano: Ongoing Big Opportunities in a Small World

Nanotechnology is the understanding and control of matter at dimensions of roughly one to 100 nanometers, where unique phenomena enable novel applications. Over the past several years the field of nanotechnology has continued to evolve at a rapid pace. As a follow-up to my last nanotechnology blog, I wanted to update readers about the latest activities of the National Nanotechnology Initiative.

The National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) is the program established in fiscal year 2001 to coordinate Federal nanotechnology research and development here in the U.S.  Today the NNI consists of the individual and cooperative nanotechnology-related activities of 25 federal agencies with a range of research and regulatory roles and responsibilities. The NNI as a program does not fund research; however, it informs and influences the Federal budget and planning processes through its member agencies.

In terms of nanotechnology funding, the total investment by NNI member agencies for 2011 is nearly $1.8 billion for nanotechnology R&D. According to the recently issued report entitled NNI Supplement to the President’s 2011 Budget, the document highlights Nanotechnology Signature Initiatives to accelerate nanotechnology development in support of the President’s priorities and innovation strategy. NNI member agencies identified areas for these initiatives ripe for significant advances through close and targeted program-level interagency collaboration.

You may be wondering “how I can provide my input as to what the NNI and the related agencies plan next in regards to nanotechnology?” I highly encourage you to attend the NNI’s Strategic Planning Stakeholder Workshop which will be held July 13-14 in Arlington, Va.  The goals of this event are to:

  1. Bring together those who are new to nanoscale science, engineering and technology as well as those familiar with the NNI;
  2. Obtain stakeholder input regarding the goals and objectives of an updated NNI Strategic Plan; and
  3. Gather suggestions to the U.S. Government interagency task force that is drafting the new plan. Let your voice be heard!

In addition, in order to help members keep up-to-date on the various activities of the NNI and other nanotechnology organizations around the globe, I recommend that they become part of SPI’s Nanotechnology Group. The group’s mission is to provide a forum for nanotechnology resin and additive suppliers, processors and equipment suppliers within SPI to address nanotechnology issues, activities and opportunities related to the plastics industry. Also to learn more about nanotechnology and the plastics industry you can listen to SPI’s recent “Business of Nanotechnology: Nanotechnology 101” webinar.

Nanotechnology is an exciting and evolutionary area. In my opinion, big changes continue to occur in the small world of nanotechnology.

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