By Will Soutter
A latest report presented to President Barack Obama and Congress has emphasized the efforts taken by the Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) in nanotechnology education and personnel development.
The President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) prepared the document entitled ‘Report to the President and Congress on the Fourth Assessment of the National Nanotechnology Initiative.’
According to the report, Penn State's efforts in the United States nanotechnology education and personnel development started in 2001 when the university housed the National Science Foundation (NSF) Regional Center for Nanofabrication Manufacturing Education. To succeed the regional center, the Nanotechnology Applications Career and Knowledge (NACK) Network, a national center was established in 2008 using a NSF grant worth $5 million.
Penn State’s Kunkle Chair Professor of Engineering Science, Stephen Fonash is the head of the NACK Network, which organizes nationwide micro- and nano-fabrication personnel development programs and operates for the NSF. The center helps industry and educational institutions throughout the nation to team up on developing and delivering micro- and nano-technology education programs, which include incumbent worker training programs. Moreover, the center assists in designing worker skill standards and national education programs in micro- and nanotechnology.
PCAST is an advisory group comprising the most recognized engineers and scientists of the country, selected by the President to complement the science and technology advice offered to him from cabinet departments, from the White House and other federal agencies.