Nanotechnology has become one of the defining ideas in global R&D over the past decade. In 2001 the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) was established as the U.S. government interagency program for coordinating nanotechnology research and development across deferral agencies and facilitating communication and collaborative activities in nanoscale science, engineering, and technology across the federal government. The 26 federal agencies that participate in the NNI collaborate to (1) advance world-class nanotechnology research and development; (2) foster the transfer of new technologies into products for commercial and public benefit; (3) develop and sustain educational resources, a skilled workforce and the supporting infrastructure and tools to advance nanotechnology; and (4) support the responsible development of nanotechnology. As part of the third triennial review of the National Nanotechnology Initiative, the Committee on Triennial Review of the National Nanotechnology Initiative: Phase II was asked to provide advice to the Nanoscale Science, Engineering, and Technology (NSET) Subcommittee and the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office in three areas:
Task 1 - Examine the role of the NNI in maximizing opportunities to transfer selected technologies to the private sector, provide an assessment of how well the NNI is carrying out this role, and suggest new mechanisms to foster transfer of technologies and improvements to NNI operations in this area where warranted.
Task 2 - Assess the suitability of current procedures and criteria for determining progress towards NNI goals, suggest definitions of success and associated metrics, and provide advice on those organizations (government or non-government) that could perform evaluations of progress.
Task 3 - Review NNI's management and coordination of nanotechnology research across both civilian and military federal agencies.
Interim Report for the Triennial Review of the National Nanotechnology Initiative, Phase II offers initial comment on the committee's approach to Task 2 and offers initial comments on the current procedures and criteria for determining progress toward and achievement of the desired outcomes.