Issue Date: May 7, 2012
U.S. Nanotech Effort Gets Good Marks
The National Nanotechnology Initiative has had a “catalytic and substantial impact” on the growth of the U.S. nanotech industry, according to a new assessment of the program. NNI is a cross-government effort to coordinate U.S. nanotech R&D across 26 agencies and programs. It is assessed every two years by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science & Technology, as mandated by Congress. In its fourth assessment, PCAST reports that NNI has enabled productive cooperation of federal agencies, helped transition lab discoveries into commercial products, and ensured that the U.S. remains the global leader in the field. For NNI to remain successful, the report recommends that agencies develop strategic plans for nanotech activities. In addition, the program should allow external, nonfederal experts to participate; develop metrics for assessing the impact of nanotech investments; and increase support for research on environmental, health, and safety issues related to nanotech, it says. President Barack Obama has requested a fiscal 2013 NNI budget of $1.8 billion, which is spread over 15 agencies. This is a 5.6% increase from 2012.
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