The Risk Policy Report is reporting that Congressional re-authorization for the National Nanotechnology Initiative, the cross-agency program designed to study nanotechnology issues, is underway.  The current funding is set to expire at the end of the 2008 fiscal year.

Reports indicate that as part of the re-authorization legislation, Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) included an amendment to the Senate bill setting aside $40 million per year for environmental health and safety research.  Aside from this fiscal directive, there are expectations that Congress will mandate the reauthorized NNI to perform more research into risks associated with nanotechnology. 

MEH: Re-authorization of the NNI is crucial for the advancement of our understanding of nanotechnology.  Through the NNI many federal agencies can share information and research, which will serve to close the ever-present data gap that surrounds nanotechnology. At the same time, an increased call for EHS funding is not inappropriate, and it is through directed funding that specific goals can be met.  While the NNI has been criticized of late, its role in the development and regulation of nanotechnology is an important one as we try and both learn about this new technology and, at the same time, begin to formulate efficient and effective regulations.