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Tag Archives: National Nanotechnology Initiative

An Interview with Senator Ron Wyden

The New Haven Independent regularly covers the nanotech field, from the latest experiment in using nanoparticles to deliver medications more efficently to discussions of how nanoindustry will affect the national and regional economies. Recently the New Haven Independent posted an edited transcript of an internview with Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), a long time advocate of Nanotech research and Nanoindustry in the US Senate and one of the Co-chairs of the Congressional Nanotechnology Caucus.

Topics covered in the interview ranged from Wyden’s work on reauthorizing the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI):

I very much want reauthorization before the end of the year. I think the Commerce Committee, Chairman [Jay] Rockefeller and others, have felt strongly about this and have watched this sort of bump up against the schedule again and again and again …

If ever there was a bipartisan fit for the Senate right now, and a chance to put us on the right side in terms of taking bolder action in a tough international competition with Europe and Asia, this is the time, and that’s the case I’m going to be making.

I consider the 21st Century bill that I wrote nine years ago one of the most important things I’ve done in my time in public service. 

to training a workforce that will be able to fill the good paying jobs that nanoindustry is and will be offering now and in the future.…

2012 Regional, State and Local Initiatives in Nanotechnology Workshop

Today’s issue of the Federal Register carries a "Notice of Public Meeting", announcing the 2012 Regional, State and Local (RSL) Initiatives in Nanotechnology workshop, to be held 1-2 May in Portland, Oregon.

This workshop will bring together leaders of regional, state, and local organizations to engage in dialog with the Federal government; economic development groups; investors and entrepreneurs; technology leaders; and scientists and engineers from industry, business, government, and academia. The discussion will address a wide range of resource, organizational, and policy issues impacting RSL nanotechnology initiatives.  

Principal themes addressed in the workshop will include:

  • Current landscape of U.S. RSL nanotechnology initiatives and their health

  • Current Federal resources available for RSLs

  • RSL best practices, business models, and opportunities for partnering; and

  • Role of nanotechnology RSLs in future U.S. economic growth and job creation.


The workshop is cosponsored by the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) and theOregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institutes (ONAMI).

Anyone planning to attend the workshop is required to register, either online, via e-mail ( ) or via regular US mail (  RSL 2012 Workshop, c/o NNCO, 4201 Wilson Boulevard,  Stafford II, Suite 405, Arlington, VA 22230). Registration is on a "first come, first served" basis and runs from today, March 5, 2012 until 5PM April 27, 2012. Those interested in presenting 3-5 minutes of public comments at the meeting should also register at Written or  electronic comments should be submitted by email to  until April 27, 2012. The workshop …

International Symposium on Assessing the Economic Impact of Nanotechnology to be held March 2012

The National Nanotechnology Coordination Office, in a "Notice of Public Meeting" published in the Federal Register of 02/02/2012, announced that on March 27-28 of this year, it would be holding an "International Symposium on Assessing the Economic Impact of Nanotechnology". The symposium, organized by the National Nanotechnology Initiative and theOrganization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The symposium will be hosted by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Washington DC on March 27th and 28th from 8:30AM to 6PM.

The symposium will focus on

the scope of economic impacts of nanotechnology, input and output factors, metrics for other technological assessments, and consideration of the appropriateness of these metrics for nanotechnology materials and products. Topics addressed will include the role of research funding portfolios, intellectual property frameworks, venture capital, public-private partnerships, state and local initiatives, international cooperation, and metrics such as private sector and industry investments, patents and publications, and the development of a technologically-educated workforce as metrics for nanotechnology.

Confirmed as speakers at the symposium are:

  • Françoise Roure, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

  • Gregory Tassey, National Institute of Standards and Technology, United States

  • Mark Morrison, Institute for Nanotechnology, United Kingdom

  • Adalberto Fazzio, Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, Brazil

  • Kazunobu Tanaka, Japan Science and Technology Agency, Japan

  • Altaf Carim, Office of Science and Technology Policy, United States

  • Herbert von Bose, European Commission

  • Joseph Molapisi, Department of Science and Technology, South Africa

  • GV Ramaraju, Department of Information Technology, India

  • Tom Crawley, Spinverse

  • Philip Shapira,

Senate Hearing on The National Nanotechnology Investment: Manufacturing, Commercialization and Job Creation”

The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation Subcommittee on Science and Space will be holding a hearing at 10AM on Thursday July 14, "The National Nanotechnology Investment: Manufacturing, Commercialization and Job Creation",

As the Commerce Committee considers a reauthorization of the National Nanotechnology Initiative, the hearing will examine the potential of nanotechnology, federal initiatives to coordinate research investments, barriers to commercialization, possible environmental and health risks, and steps Congress can take to improve the return on federal nanotechnology investments.

Appearing before the Subcommittee are the following witnesses:

  • Dr. Chad A. Mirkin Director, International Institute for Nanotechnology, Northwestern University Member of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology

  • Dr. Charles (Chuck) H. Romine Acting Associate Director, Laboratory Programs, and Principal Deputy, Office of the Director National Institute of Standards and Technology

  • Dr. Diandra Leslie-Pelecky Director, West Virginia Nano Initiative Professor of Physics, West Virginia University

  • Dr. Thomas O’Neal Associate Vice President for Research and Commercialization, University of Central Florida Executive Director, University of Central Florida Business Incubation Program

  • Dr. George L. McLendon Howard R. Hughes Provost and Professor of Chemistry Rice University


The hearing will also be webcast on the Committee’s website. The witnesses prepared statements will be posted to the Subcommittee’s site the day of the hearing.…

Request for Public Comment on Draft NNI Strategy for Nanotechnology Related Environmental, Health and Safety Research

On 01/13/2011, the Office of Science and Technology Policy published a notice in the Federal Register extending the time for filing comments for the Draft NNI Strategy for Nanotechnology Related Environmental, Health and Safety Research to 01/21/2011. The 2011 Draft Strategy is designed to replace and update  the 2008 Strategy and is the product of a series of stakeholder workshops, responses to a request for information published in the Federal Register on 07/06/2010 and comments filed online in response to questions posted on the NNI Strategic Portal.

The Draft Strategy, dated 12/06/2010, notes NNI’s EHS "Research Strategy provides guidance to the federal agencies as they develop their agency specified nanotechnology EHS research priorities implementation plans, and timelines." Added to that guidance

. . . is the inclusion of ethical, legal and societal implications (ESLI) of EHS research. . . .How nanotechnology research and applications are introduced into society, how transparent decisions are; how sensitive and responsible policies are to the needs and perceptions of the full range of stakeholders; and how ethical, legal and social issues are address will determine public trust and the future of innovation driven by nanotechnology.

Chapter 1 of the draft is introductory. Chapter 2 discusses the need to develop "A Comprehensive Measurement Infrastructure Consisting of a Suite of Complementary Tools", defined here as protocols, standards (reference materials), instruments, models and Data (further defined as "benchmark data that have been measured using validated protocols and reference materials  . . . or other well-characterized test materials . . .for …

Senate Amends and Passes H.R. 5116 America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010


The House agreed to the Senate amendment to HR 5116 on 12/21/2010. We’ll discuss the implications of this in more detail after the Xmas holiday.

The Senate unanimously passed H.R. 5116 on Friday 12/17/2010, after first adopting an amendment in the nature of a substitute. As opposed to the version of H.R. 5116 that was passed in the House, the language of the amended version contains no provisions to reauthorize the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI). As amended and passed by the Senate, the language of H.R. 5116 contains no references to nanotechnology at all.

The amended bill, basically a reduced version of S. 3605 as reported out of committee on 12/10/2010, reduces the amounts appropriated for various agencies such as the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, from $84 billion to $43 billion over a three year period.

Having been passed by the Senate in an amended version, H.R. 5116 must now go back to the House for another vote to accept the Senate’s amendment. If this happens, then the bill will go to President Obama to be signed into law. However, if the House disagrees with the amendment, the bill would be sent to a Conference Committee, composed of Senators and Representatives appointed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, charged with the task of creating a comprise version that would be acceptable to both the House and Senate. It is possible that an amendment reauthorizing …

Request for Public Comments on the 2010 NNI Strategic Plan

Monday’s Federal Register carried a notice from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Nanoscience, Engineering and Technology Subcommittee of the National Science and Technology Council inviting the public to comment on the 2010 National Nanotechnology Initiative Strategic Plan.

The NNI Strategic Plan

 is the framework that underpins the nanotechnology work of the NNI member agencies. It aims to ensure that advances in nanotechnology research and development (R&D) and their applications to agency missions and the broader national interest continue unabated in this still-young field. Its purpose is to facilitate achievement of the NNI vision by laying out targeted guidance for agency leaders, program managers, and the research community regarding planning and implementation of nanotechnology R&D investments and activities.  

The NNI Strategic Plan represents the consensus of the participating agencies as to the high-level goals and priorities of the NNI and specific objectives for at least the next three years. It describes the four overarching goals of the NNI, the major Program Component Areas established in 2004 to broadly track the categories of investments needed to ensure the success of the initiative, and the near-term objectives that will be the concrete steps taken toward collectively achieving the NNI vision and goals. Finally, the plan describes collaborative interagency activities, including three Nanotechnology Signature Initiatives that are a new model of specifically targeted and closely coordinated interagency, cross-sector collaboration designed to accelerate innovation in areas of national priority.  

The 2010 Strategic Plan is the result of reviews …

NNI at 10

In an article in the September issue of Nature ("Nanotechnology: Small wonders"), Corie Lok reviews the beginnings and accomplishments of the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) over the last ten years.

The article attributes the creation of the NNI to four factors:

– A booming US economy, particularly in the high tech sector

– Support from the Clinton administration as it entered its last year in office

– Developments within the then emerging science of nanotechnology that caught the public’s attention

– Visionary scientists and engineers who could clearly and in terms everyone could understand communicate what this new field of science was about and how it would benefit everyone. The late Dr. Richard Smalley and Mihail Roco are noted by Ms. Lok for their work in getting NNI started.

NNI’s success in creating research centers and legitimizing nanotech in the eyes of the general public, leading  to a flow of venture capital to start-up companies that planned to commercialize the results of nanotech research, is offset by what Lok and others consider its biggest flaw, a lack of focus on the possible adverse effects of nanomaterials on the environment and human health. NNI is now beginning to fund research in these areas.

As the article notes, NNI deserves a great deal of the credit for nurturing nanotechnology over the past decade. But as nanotech has begun to mature, expectations of returns on the investments of both public and private capital in the form of practical and commercial applications and products have …

Nanotechnology A Policy Primer

The Congressional Research Service, in March of this year, released a report, "Nanotechnology: A Policy Primer", written by John F. Sargent, Jr., a specialist in Science and Technology Policy. The primer’s first section focuses on a review of the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI). A table showing funding from various government agencies and departments for NNI shows that from FY 2006 to FR 2010, the Department of Defense (DOD) has been the largest single source of funding. However, this is about to change. In FY 2011, DOD will fall to 4th place, preceded by the Department of Energy (DOE), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). This shifting of the majority of funding from DOD  may reflect a normal path of evolution; DOD has long been a source of funding for new technologies that eventually develop non-military uses. It may also reflect that future DOD budgets will not be as robust as they have been in the last few years.

Noting that "In the longer term, nanotechnology may deliver revolutionary advances with profound economic and societal implications", Part 2 of the CRS report considers briefly area that may be most affected by nanotech:

Detection and treatment technologies for cancer

"Clean, inexpensive, renewable power through energy creation, storage and transmission technologies"

Universal Access to clean water supplies, both in the US and less developed nations:  " Nanotechnology water desalination and filtration systems may offer affordable, scalable and portable water filtration systems".

"High density memory devices", improving the performance of computers and other devices.…

S.3605 America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010

The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, on July 22, favorably reported S. 3605, the Senate version of the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010, sending it on the the full Senate for debate.

The text of the bill as reported is not yet available from THOMAS, however the text of the bill as introduced by Senator Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia on July 15, 2010, does show differences from H.R. 5116, the version passed in the House. The Senate version contains no provisions concerning the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) or any other nanotechnology related provisions. It is possible that during debate, the bill may be amended to include provisions for NNI. It is also possible that, during debate, the language of H.R. 5116 may be substituted for the language of S. 3605, in the form of an amendment in the nature of a substitute. The Senate may also substitute the language of S. 3605 for that of H.R. 5116 and pass an amended version of H.R. 5116. Should that happen, the bill would be sent back to the House for its concurrence to the Senate amendment. Should the House vote not to concur, a conference committee would be established to produce a version that both the House and Senate could agree on.

Time is a factor in the passage of the bills. Congress will soon adjourn for the August recess and is expected to remain adjourned until after the November elections.

As with other House and Senate bills affecting …

National Nanotechnology Coordination Office Announces a Public Meeting

Today’s Federal Register carries a notice of a public meeting on Tuesday March 30th and Wednesday March 31st 2010 to be held at the Holiday Inn Rosslyn-Key Bridge in Arlington Virginia .

The meeting will be a workshop designed "to provide an open forum to discuss the state-of-the-art of the science related to environmental, health, and safety aspects of nanomaterials in two areas: Risk Management Methods and Ethical, Legal, and Societal Implications (ELSI) of Nanotechnology."

Registration is required to attend the workshop and information on how to register is available in the notice. Anyone wishing to present 3-5 minutes of public comments also needs to register. Written or electronic comments must be submitted via e-mail at until April 30, 2010. Written comments can also be mailed to Capstone Workshop, c/o NNCO, 4201 Wilson Blvd., Stafford II, Suite 405, Arlington, VA 22230.  

Those unable to attend the workshop in person can view the main sessions via webcast. The draft agenda for the workshop is below. Among the invited speakers and guest is John Monica, a partner in Porter Wright’s DC office. Further information about the workshop is available on the National Nanotechnology Initiative website.

Schedule and Agenda

Draft Agenda (2/25/10):

Tuesday, March 30

7:30 a.m. Registration and Continental Breakfast

8:30 a.m. Morning Introductory Session: -Welcome

-Opening Remarks

– Highlights from previous workshops

– Introduction to Risk Management Methods: Gary Marchant, Arizona State University Greg Lowry, Carnegie Mellon University

– Introduction to Ethical, Legal, and Societal Implications of Nanotechnology …