Technology Law Source

Tag Archives: Nanotechnology Education Act

Status of Nanotech Bills in the Lame Duck Session

Congress returned to DC on Monday 11/15/2010 to begin a "lame duck" session . Congress, in particular the Senate, will find their agendas crowed with debate on several bills that need to be voted on before adjourning sine die sometime in December. Therefore, it seemed a good time to review the status of the bills that would affect the nanotech field.

H.R. 554, the "National Nanotechnology Initiative Amendments Act of 2009" was introduced by Rep. Bart Gordon on 01/15/2009 and was passed without amendment by the House on 02/11/2009. After being received in the Senate, H.R. 554 was assigned to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Technology. It hasnot been reported out for debate by the full Senate.

H.R. 554, among various provisions, would have amended the reporting requirements of the 21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act, directed the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office to create a publicly accessible database, created the National Nanotechnology Advisory Panel as a distinct entity with a subpanel that would consider the social, ethical, legal, environmental and workplace impact of nanotechnolgy, required the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy to designate an associate director of that office as the Coordinator for Societal Dimensions of Nanotechnology with various duties, and would have defined nanotechnology and nanoscale as

   NANOTECHNOLOGY- The term `nanotechnology’ means the science and technology that will enable one to understand, measure, manipulate, and manufacture at the nanoscale, aimed at creating materials, devices, and systems with fundamentally new properties or functions.’; …

S. 3117, Promote Nanotechnology in the Schools Act of 2010

While much of the media and public’s attention was focused on Senator Dodd’s introduction of an amended financial services reform bill and the ongoing debate over the health care reform bill, Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) introduced S. 3117, the "Promote Nanotechnology in the Schools Act of 2010" (the link is to Senator Wyden’s introductory remarks; the text of S. 3117 is not available from THOMAS yet).

Noting that "nanotechnology represents an opportunity to provide long-term, well-paid employment for millions of Americans"  and "to ensure that many of the needed jobs will be created here in the U.S., it is necessary to provide our students with the tools that will provide the skills and knowledge that nanotechnology companies need", S. 3117 would direct the National Science Foundation to establish a grant program that would provide up to $400,000 to schools, community colleges and colleges and universities to cover the cost of purchasing equipment and materials to be used in instructing students in nanotechnology, with the schools receiving the grants having to provide 1/4 of the grant amount as matching funds. For example, if a college received the full $400,000 it would need to put up $100,000 of its own funds.

If this sounds familiar, a similar program of grants from the NSF is at the heart of HR 4502, the Nanotechnology Education Act introduced by Reps. Wu and Lipinski in January of this year and discussed here. HR 4502 was assigned to the House Committee on Science …

The Nanotechnology Education Act

The Nanotechnology Education Act (H.R. 4502), was introduced early last week by Rep. David Wu (D-1st-OR) and co-sponsored by Rep. Daniel Lipinski (D-3rd-Ill). The bill has as it’s purpose the establishment of a grant program aimed at helping secondary schools, colleges and universities to established and improve nanotechnology education programs and facilities.

The bill notes that nanotechnology "is generating scientific and technological breakthroughs that will benefit society by improving the way many things are produced" and that

Nanotechnology is likely to have a significant, positive impact on the security, economic well-being, and health of Americans as fields related to nanotechnology expand.

the bill announces its formidable goal:

In order to maximize the benefits of nanotechnology to individuals in the United States, the United States must maintain world leadership in the field, including nanoscience and microtechnology, in the face of determined competition from other nations.

To maintain that level of world leadership

the United States must make a long-term investment in educating United States students in secondary schools and institutions of higher education, so that the students are able to conduct nanoscience research and develop and commercialize nanotechnology applications.

Preparing United States students for careers in nanotechnology, including nanoscience, requires that the students have access to the necessary scientific tools, including scanning electron microscopes designed for teaching, and requires training to enable teachers and professors to use those tools in the classroom and the laboratory.

H.R. 4502 states it’s purpose:

is to strengthen the capacity of United States secondary schools …

LexBlog