By Andy Choi
The White House is making efforts to garner public support for its plans for a $1.8 billion research and development program aimed at broadening the applications of nanotechnology.
The National Nanotechnology Initiative of the U.S. is expected to catalyze further development and applications of nanotechnology in a broad array of fields, including energy, health, national defence and intelligence, computation and measurement.
Seeking support from the public, a ‘draft strategic plan’ was put together by 25 agencies such as the White House Office of Science & Technology and the National Science and Technology Council, as well as leaders in scientific community, who have been working on the nanotechnology policy since 2001.
The federal government established the NNI in 2001. The NNI is meant to provide guidance to agency officials, program managers and the research community as they find ways to implement nanotechnology which is still in its early stages of adoption and R&D, in their work.
These twenty-five agencies form the NNI and worked together to create a strategic plan that aims to merge nanotechnology research and development with how it applies to individual agency missions as well as overall national interest.
As per the plan goals for nanotechnology research during the next three years are:
Advancement in world-class nanotechnology research and development.
Fostering the transfer of new technologies into products for commercial benefits and public use.
Development and sustenance of education to form a skilled workforce and infrastructure as well to support advanced nanotechnology.
Supporting responsible development of nanotechnology, including risk assessment and mitigation
As termed by the White House, nanotechnology together with IT and biotechnology, forms the "golden triangle" of technology. The White house is eagerly looking towards inputs enabling optimum investment in all three to provide economic benefit to society, and the NNI is spearheading its nanotechnology efforts.
The plan lays out high-level priorities of the NNI for three years, reiterating the four main goals established in the 2007 Strategic Plan.
Three imperative Nanotechnology Signature Initiatives: renewable energy, sustainable manufacturing and next-generation electronics that will require cross-agency collaboration, have been outlined by the plan.
Fifteen NNI agencies were involved with nanotechnology R&D in 2011. The total proposed NNI budget for the year is $1.76 billion. Since the NNI was formed, the federal government has invested nearly $14 billion in it.