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A Review of the National Nanotechnology Initiative

In the mid-1990s, as better methods for the characterization, processing, and manipulation of matter at the nanoscale were being developed in research programs supported by the science and technology agencies of the federal government, these agencies began holding informal discussions on a common vision for what became known as nanotechnology (see Box 1-1 for a discussion of some definitions of nanotechnology). This interagency dialog culminated in the establishment in 2000 of the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI)—Box 1-2 details some of the history of the establishment of the initiative.

It is important to note at the outset that the initiative itself does not fund research. The NNI is a coordination mechanism for government agencies that support nanoscale research, such as the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation, or that have a stake in the outcomes of nanoscale research, such as the Food and Drug Administration or the Department of Justice. Under the broad umbrella of the initiative, each participating agency invests in projects and programs in support of its own mission. The NNI itself also has a mission that can be summarized as expediting the discovery, development, and deployment of nanotechnology in order to achieve responsible and sustainable economic benefits, enhance the quality of life, and promote national security.1 The initiative’s primary coordination mechanism is the National Science and Technology Council’s (NSTC’s) Nanoscale Science, Engineering, and Technology (NSET) Subcommittee.2 Through the operation of the NSET Subcommittee and the other subordinate structures of the NNI, the initiative addresses the general goals of supporting



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A Matter of Size: Triennial Review of the National Nanotechnology Initiative 1 A Review of the National Nanotechnology Initiative In the mid-1990s, as better methods for the characterization, processing, and manipulation of matter at the nanoscale were being developed in research programs supported by the science and technology agencies of the federal government, these agencies began holding informal discussions on a common vision for what became known as nanotechnology (see Box 1-1 for a discussion of some definitions of nanotechnology). This interagency dialog culminated in the establishment in 2000 of the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI)—Box 1-2 details some of the history of the establishment of the initiative. It is important to note at the outset that the initiative itself does not fund research. The NNI is a coordination mechanism for government agencies that support nanoscale research, such as the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation, or that have a stake in the outcomes of nanoscale research, such as the Food and Drug Administration or the Department of Justice. Under the broad umbrella of the initiative, each participating agency invests in projects and programs in support of its own mission. The NNI itself also has a mission that can be summarized as expediting the discovery, development, and deployment of nanotechnology in order to achieve responsible and sustainable economic benefits, enhance the quality of life, and promote national security.1 The initiative’s primary coordination mechanism is the National Science and Technology Council’s (NSTC’s) Nanoscale Science, Engineering, and Technology (NSET) Subcommittee.2 Through the operation of the NSET Subcommittee and the other subordinate structures of the NNI, the initiative addresses the general goals of supporting

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A Matter of Size: Triennial Review of the National Nanotechnology Initiative BOX 1-1 What Is Nanotechnology? Nanotechnology is not simply about small particles, materials, or products. It is not one type of technology with a defined use. Rather, nanotechnology is an enabling technology that promises to contribute at many frontiers of science and technology. For purposes of federal R&D, nanotechnology is defined by the National Nanotechnology Initiative as comprising the following three factors:1 Research and technology development at the atomic, molecular, or macromolecular levels, at a length scale of approximately 1 to 100 nanometers (a nanometer is one-billionth of a meter, too small to be seen with a conventional laboratory microscope); Creation and use of structures, devices, and systems that have novel properties and functions because of their small and/or intermediate size, at the level of atoms and molecules; Ability for atomic-scale control or manipulation. The National Institutes of Health has further clarified the definition of nanotechnology, given that much of biomedical R&D involves work at the level of submicron features.2,3 “Nanomedicine,” for example, refers to highly specific medical intervention at the molecular scale for treating disease or repairing damaged tissues, such as bone, muscle, or nerve. It is at this size scale—about 100 nanometers or less—that biological molecules and structures inside living cells operate. Research in nanotechnology is based on discoveries in physics and chemistry that have led to essential understanding of the physical and chemical properties of materials at the level of molecules or complexes of molecules, and thus to the ability to manipulate those properties. Researchers have characterized the parts of cells in vivid detail and now know a great deal about how intracellular structures operate, for example, but still have not been able to answer questions basic to understanding how to build “nano” structures or “nano” machines that are compatible with living tissues. In this and other areas of application, nanotechnology as an enabler of significant breakthroughs and benefits is still very much a young and developing endeavor.    1See http://nano.gov/html/facts/whatIsNano.html, accessed March 2006.    2See http://nihroadmap.nih.gov/nanomedicine/index.asp, accessed March 2006.    3National Science and Technology Council (NSTC). 2005. Nanobiotechnology: Report of the National Nanotechnology Initiative Workshop. Washington, D.C.: NSTC. August.

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A Matter of Size: Triennial Review of the National Nanotechnology Initiative BOX 1-2 A Brief History of the National Nanotechnology Initiative In September 1998, an ongoing interagency dialog on nanotechnology was formalized as the Interagency Working Group on Nanotechnology (IWGN). Established under the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, the IWGN developed a number of reports on a long-term vision for nanoscale R&D, on international benchmarking of nanotechnology, and on U.S. government investment in nanotechnology research and development (R&D).1,2 In March 1999, IWGN representatives proposed a nanotechnology initiative with a budget of half a billion dollars for fiscal year (FY) 2001.3 In January 2000, the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) was formally established, and preparations were begun for a coordinated federal investment in nanoscale R&D. In August 2000, as the NNI got underway, the NSTC established the Nanoscale Science, Engineering and Technology (NSET) Subcommittee to replace the IWGN. The NSET Subcommittee was tasked to implement the NNI by coordinating with federal agencies and R&D programs. At the time of this writing the NSET Subcommittee comprises representatives of over 20 federal departments and agencies along with officials from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the White House Office of Management and Budget. In January 2001, the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office (NNCO) was established to provide daily technical and administrative support to the NSET Subcommittee and to assist in multiagency planning and the preparation of budgets and program assessment documents. The NNCO was also tasked with assisting the NSET Subcommittee with the collection and dissemination of information on industry, state, and international nanoscale science and technology research, development, and commercialization activities.4 The NNCO provides technical guidance and administrative support, organizes monthly NSET Subcommittee meetings, conducts workshops, and prepares information and reports, serving as a point of contact and helping to facilitate communication. Currently, these important operational functions are managed by a small group of scientific experts and technical staff.    1M.C. Roco, S. Williams, and P. Alivisatos, eds. 2000. Vision for Nanotechnology Research in the Next Decade. Nanotechnology Research Directions, IWGN Workshop Report. Kluwer Academic Publishers.    2R.W. Siegel, E. Hu, and M.C. Roco, eds. 1999. Nanostructure Science and Technology. Kluwer Academic Publishers.    3M.C. Roco. 2004. The U.S. National Nanotechnology Initiative after 3 years (2001-2003). Journal of Nanoparticle Research 6: 1010.    4National Research Council. 2002. Small Wonders, Endless Frontiers: A Review of the National Nanotechnology Initiative. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.

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A Matter of Size: Triennial Review of the National Nanotechnology Initiative the missions of the participating agencies; ensuring continuing leadership by the United States in nanoscale science, engineering, and technology; and contributing to the nation’s economic competitiveness. CONTEXT FOR CURRENT OPERATION OF THE NNI Management and Advisory Structure In December 2003, the 21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act3 (NRDA) was signed into law, putting the NNI on a legislative footing that had been lacking. The legislation established the NNI’s operating structures and also requested that the President establish and designate an advisory panel with a membership qualified to provide advice and information on nanotechnology research, development, demonstrations, education, technology transfer, commercial applications, and societal and ethical concerns.4 Figure 1-1 shows the current organizational structure of the NNI. The NRDA said that the President, in selecting or designating an advisory panel, might seek and give consideration to recommendations from the Congress, industry, the scientific community (including the National Academy of Sciences, scientific professional societies, and academia), the defense community, state and local governments, regional nanotechnology programs, and other appropriate organizations. According to the NRDA, the responsibilities of the advisory panel were to include assessing the following: Trends and developments in nanotechnology science and engineering; Progress made in implementing the NNI; Need for revision of the NNI; Balance among the components of the NNI, including funding levels for the program component areas; Whether the program component areas, priorities, and technical goals developed by the NSET Subcommittee were helping to maintain U.S. leadership in nanotechnology; Management, coordination, implementation, and activities of the NNI; and Whether societal, ethical, legal, environmental, and workforce concerns were being adequately addressed. The NRDA also directed the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office (NNCO) to arrange with the National Research Council (NRC) for a triennial review of the NNI—of which this report is the first—and it asked that an NNI

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A Matter of Size: Triennial Review of the National Nanotechnology Initiative FIGURE 1-1 Organization of the NNI. Light shading, supervising organizations; dark shading, implementing organizations; PCAST, TAG, and NRC, organizations evaluating the NNI; dashed lines, lines of information exchange. For definitions of acronyms, see Appendix E. SOURCE: Courtesy of Mihail C. Roco, NSET/NSF. strategic plan be developed, and then updated on a 3-year cycle, to guide the initiative’s activities. It specified that the strategic plan should describe how the initiative would move R&D results out of the laboratory and into applications for the benefit of society; indicate the initiative’s support for long-term funding for interdisciplinary research and development in nanotechnology; and outline the allocation of funding for interagency nanotechnology projects. In response to the NRDA, in July 2004 President George W. Bush announced that the President’s Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) would serve as the National Nanotechnology Advisory Panel (NNAP). PCAST provides broad science and technology policy advice to the President and has the expertise to address a wide range of technical, business, and policy issues. Because of its broad purview, PCAST created a nanotechnology technical advisory group

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A Matter of Size: Triennial Review of the National Nanotechnology Initiative (TAG) of about 50 government and private sector scientists to assist it in the execution of its NNAP duties. The first PCAST/NNAP report, released on May 18, 2005, reviewed the NNI after 5 years of operation.5 The report focused on answering four questions: Where do we stand? Is this money well spent and the program well managed? Are we addressing societal concerns and potential risks? How can we do better? The PCAST/NNAP report made recommendations for strengthening NNI efforts in several areas: Improved technology transfer from the laboratory to the marketplace by communicating and establishing networks with U.S. industry; Increased coordination with and outreach to the states in support of nanotechnology R&D; Establishment of databases to improve the management of research results, publications, and patents resulting from researchers’ use of NNI-supported facilities and instrumentation; Continued support for research on the effects of nanotechnology products to ensure protection of the public and the environment and establishment of regulatory standards and policies based on rational interpretation of science results, and not on perceived fears; and Inclusion in the NNI of the Departments of Education and Labor to improve the nation’s science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education and training systems. During the course of the present NRC study the Committee to Review the National Nanotechnology Initiative gave considerable thought to the effectiveness of the current NNI management and advisory structures outlined above. The committee’s conclusions, based on its assessment of the overall effectiveness of the NNI in carrying out its coordination mission as described in the following sections, can be found at the end of this chapter in the section titled “Conclusions and Recommendations.” Federal Support for NNI R&D Eleven NNI-participating agencies currently report investments in nanotechnology. They are the Department of Agriculture (USDA), Department of Defense (DOD), Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Department of Justice (DOJ), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), National Institute of Standards and Technology

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A Matter of Size: Triennial Review of the National Nanotechnology Initiative TABLE 1-1 2006 Planned Agency Investments by Program Component Area (in $ millions)   Fundamental Nanoscale Phenomena and Processes Nanomaterials Nanoscale Devices and Systems Instrumentation Research, Metrology, and Standards for Nanotechnology Nanomanufacturing Major Research Facilities and Instrumentation Acquisition Societal Dimensions NNI Totala NSF 95 75 54 12 24 24 60 344 DOD 35 83 99 3 2 6 2 230 DOE 48 33 5 11 0 109 1 207 HHS (NIH) 46 17 67 6 0 1 8 144 DOC (NIST) 5 1 2 39 19 8 1 75 NASA 4 17 10 0 1 0 0 32 USDA 1 2 6 0 1 0 1 11 EPA <0.5 0 <0.5 0 0 0 4 5 HHS (NIOSH) 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 3 DOJ 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 DHS 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 TOTAL 234 228 244 71 47 148 82 1,054    aTotals may not add due to rounding. SOURCE: Nanoscale Science, Engineering, and Technology Subcommittee, Committee on Technology, National Science and Technology Council. 2005. The National Nanotechnology Initiative: Research and Development Leading to a Revolution in Technology and Industry. Supplement to the President’s FY 2006 Budget Request. March. (NIST), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and National Science Foundation (NSF). In fiscal year (FY) 2005 the total investment made by these 11 agencies was about $1.1 billion—with DOD, DOE, NIH, NIST, and NSF contributing over 95 percent of the total NNI budget.6 The President’s R&D budget request for NNI for FY 2006 was $1.05 billion. For FY 2007 the request is $1.277 billion. Table 1-1 shows the FY 2006 planned agency budgets by program component area.7 The committee notes that there is nanotechnology research being performed by some agencies that is not reported in this total. The FY 2006 total federal science and technology R&D investment of $134.8 billion is a $2.2 billion or 1.7 percent increase over the FY 2005 amount, but it has been reported that 97 percent of this increase is for DOD weapons development and NASA next-generation space exploration vehicles.8 Funding for all other R&D

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A Matter of Size: Triennial Review of the National Nanotechnology Initiative programs increased marginally and actually fell 2 percent after adjusting for inflation. The total federal research investment (basic and applied), excluding development and R&D facilities, totaled $57.0 billion in FY 2006, an increase of $1.0 billion or 1.8 percent over the FY 2005 amount. In the FY 2007 budget proposed by President Bush, programs in the physical sciences and engineering received a substantial funding increase as part of the American Competitiveness Initiative.9 The three agencies benefiting the most from this increase are NSF, DOE’s Office of Science, and NIST. The overall federal investment in science and technology R&D would increase to $136.9 billion in FY 2007, but the federal investment in basic and applied research would decline 3.3 percent to $54.8 billion. These numbers imply that the increases for the physical sciences will be more than offset by cuts in other agencies’ research. NNI ACCOMPLISHMENTS In reviewing the NNI the committee investigated the various impacts the initiative has had, focusing, in particular, on the impact of NNI coordination—including the impacts on agency programs and priorities. The committee notes that it was clear early on that carrying out a comprehensive assessment of the science being funded by the NNI was beyond the means available to the study. The field of nanotechnology is so broad and involves so many disciplines that assessing the science output attributable to the NNI would be an enormously difficult task. A comprehensive study would require a thorough assessment of research programs across the 11 NNI-participating agencies, involving tremendously diverse fields spanning the physical and biomedical sciences. These difficulties notwithstanding, the committee did make some broad measurements of the value of the scientific endeavor under the NNI in its benchmarking assessment as reported in Chapter 2—for instance, by analyzing data on papers published and patents awarded. A workshop organized by the committee to obtain information on aspects of the science output of the NNI provided some perspectives of leading nanoscale science and technology researchers.10 The strong consensus at that workshop, in the interviews held as part of this study with representatives of private industry, and in other materials submitted to the committee was that NNI-related R&D is world-class and in many instances world-leading, and that it is making invaluable contributions to the advancement of knowledge and innovation in the United States. Development of an Updated Strategic Plan The committee believes that coordination of nanoscale R&D programs across the federal government is the main purpose of the NNI, and also that provision of

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A Matter of Size: Triennial Review of the National Nanotechnology Initiative TABLE 1-2 Distribution of Responsibilities Within the National Nanotechnology Initiative Arm Primary Office Responsibilities Science policy management Executive Office of the President, Office of Science and Technology Policy, National Science and Technology Council, President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology Establishment of nanotechnology as a high priority for R&D; budget creation and allocation of funding to agencies; negotiation with Congress Program management and coordination Nanoscale Science, Engineering, and Technology (NSET) Subcommittee and member federal agencies Coordination and development of strategic plan; provision of mechanisms for interagency communication and coordination Communication, execution, and reporting National Nanotechnology Coordination Office Publication of reports on behalf of the NSET Subcommittee and the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) for use by Congress, academia, industry, and the public; communication and outreach as public point of contact for the NNI SOURCE: C. Teague, NNCO, presentation to this committee, August 25, 2005. that coordination and the resultant deliverables are critical measures of the NNI’s impact. In carrying out this review, the committee compiled information on NNI strategic planning and management that have involved broad participation by federal agencies and extensive coordination within each agency. The responsibilities for the management, coordination, and communication functions of the initiative are outlined in Table 1-2. The initiative’s coordination has involved building strong partnerships across the government to leverage investments by government (state, regional, and international), industry (companies, trade associations, and international organizations), and scientific communities (universities, national laboratories, scientific societies, and professional organizations). Released in December 2004, the updated strategic plan looks 5 to 10 years ahead to outline a vision of the NNI as working for “a future in which the ability to understand and control matter on the nanoscale leads to a revolution in technology and industry.”11 The strategic plan describes four goals of the NNI and the strategy by which those goals are to be achieved. The goals are these: Maintain a world-class research and development program aimed at realizing the full potential of nanotechnology. Facilitate transfer of new technologies into products for economic growth, jobs, and other public benefit.

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A Matter of Size: Triennial Review of the National Nanotechnology Initiative Develop educational resources, a skilled workforce, and the supporting infrastructure and tools to advance nanotechnology. Support responsible development of nanotechnology. The strategic plan also outlines program component areas (PCAs) that were developed as a means to categorize and describe the many different investments in nanotechnology R&D made by the federal agencies that support research (see Table 1-1). The PCAs provide a framework that allows the NSET Subcommittee, Office of Science and Technology Policy, Office of Management and Budget, and Congress to be informed of NNI-related activities in a consistent fashion and that facilitates the management of investments in each PCA and the coordination and direction of activities within the participating agencies. The seven PCAs are as follows: Fundamental nanoscale phenomena and processes. Discovery and development of scientific and engineering principles relating to new structures, processes, and mechanisms at the nanoscale; Nanomaterials. Research involving the design and synthesis of nanostructured materials in a controlled and targeted manner; Nanoscale devices and systems. Research that applies science and engineering principles at the nanoscale to create new or improve existing devices and systems; Instrumentation research, metrology, and standards for nanotechnology. R&D involving the development of tools to characterize, measure, synthesize, and design materials, structures, devices, and systems at the nanoscale. R&D involving development of standards for nomenclature, materials, processing, testing, characterizing, and manufacturing; Nanomanufacturing. R&D enabling scaled-up, reliable, cost-effective manufacturing of nanoscale materials, devices, structures, and systems via top-down or bottom-up processes; Major research facilities and instrumentation acquisition. Establishment of user facilities and new development of instrumentation to improve and advance the research infrastructure; and Societal dimensions.12 Research that addresses societal implications of nanotechnology, including risk assessment and communication, occupational health, public health, and the environment. Having reviewed the 2004 strategic plan, the committee concluded that the articulation of the NNI’s strategic goals and the development of the related PCAs are an important outcome of the NNI that has had a positive impact on the pro-

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A Matter of Size: Triennial Review of the National Nanotechnology Initiative vision of federal support for the fields and disciplines involved in research and development at the nanoscale. The PCA framework and the multidisciplinary collaboration it fosters have enabled a more coherent approach to achieving the NNI’s goals than would have been possible otherwise. As part of the process of defining the PCAs, each agency assessed how it contributes to the seven areas listed above.13,14 The committee learned that for many of the NNI-participating agencies, the strategic planning process and the identification of the seven PCAs have been important for engaging the interest and securing the support of various units within each agency. For instance, the committee was informed that at NSF, since the quality of NNI-related proposals is high, a proposal reviewed well by one unit but not awarded support owing to a lack of funds is now often shared with other units for consideration in other programs, based on the merit of the work. This approach has become more prevalent because of the knowledge NSF units have gained of programs at other NSF units, in part as a result of NNI-related activities.15 The committee is convinced that the development and implementation of the NNI strategic plan are key to the science impact that the NNI can be expected to have, which according to the general consensus referred to above is thought to be positive, substantive, and significant. In addition, the strategy has led to the NNI contributing to the education of the 21st-century R&D workforce, as well as addressing societal issues such as health effects and environmental impact. Not only has the establishment of a strategic plan for the NNI had a positive impact in itself, but it has also led to several programmatic impacts at the participating agencies and to the establishment of new structures as described below. Establishment of Working Groups and Other Mechanisms for Coordination, Communication, and Outreach In pursuit of NNI goals the initiative has been a catalyst for a significant increase in interagency communication and coordination spearheaded primarily by the NSET Subcommittee. The subcommittee meets monthly, and meeting attendance is reported to be excellent, numbering consistently between 40 and 60 people. In addition to the important work done by the NSET Subcommittee is its establishment of four interagency working groups to address specific cross-agency issues in the context of NNI goals and the seven NNI PCAs. They are the Nanotechnology Environmental and Health Implications (NEHI) Working Group; the Industry Liaison Working Group; the Nanomanufacturing Working Group; and the Nanotechnology Public Interaction Working Group (see Figure 1-1). The flexible structure of the working groups and focused discussions by participants help to promote effective interagency communication, coordination,

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A Matter of Size: Triennial Review of the National Nanotechnology Initiative The NSF’s Network for Computational Nanotechnology, started in 2002, includes seven universities that together support computational research, as well as education and modeling and simulation tools that can be accessed via the Web. Announced in October 2005, the NSF’s Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network award will support a national network of science museums, providing informal educational activities for schoolchildren as well as adults. Two centers for nanotechnology in society are being created through NSF funding and, through a network of social scientists, economists, and nanotechnology researchers, will formulate a long-term vision for addressing societal, ethical, environmental, and education concerns; involve partners or affiliates to collaborate on topics related to responsible nanotechnology; formulate plans to involve a wide range of stakeholders; and develop a clearinghouse for information on communicating about nanoscience and nanotechnology and engaging the public in meaningful dialog.24 EDUCATION, WORKFORCE, AND PUBLIC UNDERSTANDING During the course of this study the committee heard from several sources, and indeed it is the experience of many educators on the committee, that NNI-related science and technology R&D and the strong federal support for discovery-based research and interdisciplinary collaborations at university centers are attracting and exciting students. For example, new research opportunities are drawing the attention of students to research at the interface of the physical and biomedical sciences, a direct benefit of collaborative federal funding by agencies such as NIH, NSF, and DOE. While nanotechnology holds much promise for attracting students to the nation’s research universities, it is troubling that math and science indicators at the K-12 level have been showing a steady decline in overall U.S. student performance.25,26 Also, the number of U.S.-born and U.S.-educated students advancing into the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) track is at an all-time low.27 These trends continue despite a significant emphasis on teaching by federal research granting organizations such as NSF whose centers are serving important roles in this regard, and despite educational programs funded for K-12 students, college and graduate students, and general public understanding. Stronger STEM programs in K-12 education could leverage state initiatives, reach out to university education departments to train new teachers, and involve teachers’ professional organizations (such as the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and the Mathematical Association of America) for continuing education and certification. Recommendations for such changes were recently made in the National Research Council report Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future.28

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A Matter of Size: Triennial Review of the National Nanotechnology Initiative In addition to educating students, sharing the discoveries of science with a broader audience is an important responsibility of the science and technology community. Beyond efforts to impact K-16 education, understanding by and engagement of the public are important objectives that the science community must address, given that such understanding is basic to the public’s trust in and support for nanotechnology R&D, on the one hand, and to the public’s excitement about scientific exploration and discovery in general, on the other. Science and engineering are not conducted in a vacuum. University education, including participation in the research conducted at universities, fosters the next generation of scientific thinkers. Industry R&D enables new products with better functionality, leading to manufacturing and jobs. Government leadership advances the best interests of the nation, maintaining an infrastructure for S&T excellence, stimulating industrial innovation, protecting the environment, improving health, and ensuring national security. And the general public, who are the catalyst for and beneficiaries of government’s successes, must be kept informed. Science in the media needs to reflect the challenges and opportunities that drive the scientific and technological infrastructure supported by federal funds and private investments. Many organizations, including the National Academies, have increased their public outreach activities with greater coverage on public radio and open access to their publications. With greater online access, NSF and DOE media Web sites have also increased their coverage with exciting news releases and featured stories. For example, it is worth noting that the NSF site on nanotechnology captures the imagination of many with news, discoveries, and images.29,30 The committee believes that the public’s curiosity about nanotechnology could be leveraged more effectively to build public support for the federal support of R&D in the physical and biomedical sciences, as well as attract new talent into U.S. undergraduate and graduate education. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS Revisiting the NNI’s first three goals (see the subsection “Development of an Updated Strategic Plan” above in this chapter) provides a useful framework for summarizing the committee’s conclusions about the impact of the NNI. The issue in the fourth goal, responsible development, is dealt with separately in this report in Chapter 4, in the context of the committee’s separate task to consider that particular issue.

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A Matter of Size: Triennial Review of the National Nanotechnology Initiative Goal 1: Maintain a World-Class Research and Development Program Aimed at Realizing the Full Potential of Nanotechnology The committee notes that federal R&D programs are intended to advance the boundaries of knowledge and develop technologies that address government and national needs. To accomplish the vision of the NNI, a coordinated federal investment has been developed at the frontiers and intersections of many disciplines, including biology, chemistry, engineering, materials, and physics. Activities aimed at making progress toward the NNI’s first goal include support for basic or knowledge-inspired research, and development of technology. Application areas of interest to both government and industry include the environment, health, medicine, energy, information technology, defense, transportation, and agriculture and food systems. NNI activities have produced significant advances in these and other application areas and are progressing from fundamental discovery to technological applications and commercialization. The committee concluded that development of the goals articulated in the NNI’s strategic plan and establishment of the related PCAs are an important outcome of the NNI that has had a positive impact on allocation of federal support to the fields and disciplines that make up nanotechnology. In addition, the committee is convinced that the successful coordination driven by the NSET Subcommittee and the coordination framework it has established are at the heart of the NNI’s advances toward achievement of its first goal. The NNI is successfully coordinating nanoscale R&D efforts and interests across the government as the federal agencies supporting nanoscale research move toward a broadly common vision of federal investment in nanotechnology and nanoscience. The working groups and other outreach and coordination efforts developed under the initiative have contributed considerably to the development of new collaborations between agencies and between different units within agencies, all in pursuit of realizing the full potential of nanotechnology in the context of the NNI PCAs. Research supported by NNI-participating agencies includes cutting-edge basic research leading to fundamental discoveries as a basis for producing valuable and marketable technologies, processes, and techniques. Federal investments under the NNI are developing the tools of science—facilities and instruments that enable discovery and development—particularly unique, expensive, or large-scale tools beyond the means of a single organization. The committee is convinced that the significant U.S. investment in the NNI to date and the resultant research progress have set the stage for even more valuable advances at the nanoscale by U.S. scientists and engineers in the next decade. The multidisciplinary collaborative approach fostered by the NNI has enabled advances in basic research for the creation of foundational knowledge, targeted applied research for high-impact applications, and established

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A Matter of Size: Triennial Review of the National Nanotechnology Initiative infrastructure for access to facilities, equipment, and instrumentation. The NNI has also created interdisciplinary linkages that otherwise are likely not to have formed. These new interconnections between fields and between individual scientists and engineers from a diverse range of fields will be a lasting legacy of the initiative. At a time of restrained R&D budgets, the committee stresses the importance of balancing federal support in pursuit of shorter-term research goals with longer-term R&D programs when budgets are being prioritized. Achieving a balanced program will require that federal support for basic nanoscale research not be compromised in favor of applied shorter-term technology work. Basic research and applied research are equally important, each with a different characteristic timescale within which benefits can be realized and goals reached. Two essential inputs to establishing balance in the NNI are the continued operation of the interagency coordination mechanisms and access to effective advice from members of the R&D community who have specific expertise to address technical areas and cross-disciplinary issues in nanoscale science and technology. The committee notes that sustaining the capacity for U.S. science and technology advances into the future means not just providing financial support for NNI R&D but also ensuring a robust R&D infrastructure, broadly defined. Currently the NNI supports research that provides graduate students in the United States access to world-class education and research training opportunities, thereby contributing to the development of a workforce with skills for the 21st century. Throughout its study the committee heard of research from around the world that is important to U.S. efforts to meet the goals of the NNI, and it is widely recognized that in the United States visiting and domiciled foreign-born researchers and students are key contributors to all science and engineering fields. Their scientific knowledge and technical expertise contribute substantially to stimulating innovation, to this country’s significant benefit. Continuing to attract the world’s best students and researchers interested in nanotechnology will depend partly on how policies and the implementation of legal frameworks, such as immigration law and export control law, help or hinder international collaboration. The committee believes an important role of the NNI involves articulating to the NNI-participating federal agencies, to other relevant branches of the federal government, and to the U.S. Congress the importance of (1) maintaining the openness of the U.S. R&D enterprise to global partnerships and (2) ensuring the development of a high-quality U.S. science and technology workforce regardless of national origins. The U.S. visa system and the export control and licensing system can be supportive of, rather than barriers to, R&D, especially university-based and precompetitive research. In addition, the committee believes that federal agencies are motivated by their participation in NNI activities to establish priorities, coordinate programs, and leverage resources. The level of interagency collaborations has proved very

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A Matter of Size: Triennial Review of the National Nanotechnology Initiative effective. It deserves continuing strong support, and so the committee offers the following recommendation: Recommendation. In view of the NNI’s evident progress toward developing a framework essential to maintaining and enhancing the nation’s competitive position in nanoscale science and technology, the committee recommends that the federal government sustain investments in a manner that balances the pursuit of shorter-term goals with support for longer-term R&D and that ensures a robust supporting infrastructure, broadly defined. Supporting long-term research effectively will require making new funds available that do not come at the expense of much-needed ongoing investment in U.S. physical sciences and engineering research. Assessing the value to the nation’s ongoing investments in NNI-related science, engineering, and technology will require that high-quality information and data be collected and made publicly available each year, and also that a baseline of information and data be established against which to assess the impacts of the federal investment in the NNI and thereby determine if NNI and national goals are being met. The committee acknowledges the challenges inherent in collecting, organizing, and tracking such data across agencies and notes the OMB’s efforts to improve agencies’ reporting of data on NNI-related research support. However, the committee is convinced that there is room for improvement in the reporting mechanisms so as to ensure improved transparency and confidence in the numbers. Efforts toward a coordinated system of consistent tracking and reporting should involve each NNI-participating agency equally and should include intra-agency actions as well. Recommendation. To build a capability for assessing the contribution of NNI investments to individual agencies’ strategic goals and the broader goals of the NNI itself, the committee recommends that the federal agencies participating in the NNI, in consultation with the NNCO and the Office of Management and Budget, continue to develop and enhance means for consistent reporting and tracking of funds requested, authorized, and expended annually. The current set of PCAs provides an appropriate initial template for such tracking. Goal 2: Facilitate Transfer of New Technologies into Products for Economic Growth, Jobs, and Other Public Benefit To achieve the full benefit of the results of NNI-funded R&D requires the transitioning of ideas into products. Technology transfer can occur via various pathways, including hiring of recent graduates and licensing of intellectual prop-

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A Matter of Size: Triennial Review of the National Nanotechnology Initiative erty resulting from federally funded research. A primary aspect of all technology transfer activities is interaction among those who are performing R&D and those who manufacture and sell goods and services. While NNI-stimulated interaction with industry has been encouraging, the committee welcomes NNI plans to further explore how to facilitate successful commercialization of nanotechnology. These issues are discussed in Chapter 3 on the economic impact of nanotechnology, which includes a recommendation to address the need for collecting data on and developing means to measure the transfer of technology from research to the marketplace, as well as the commercial development of nanotechnology. Goal 3: Develop Educational Resources, a Skilled Workforce, and the Supporting Infrastructure and Tools to Advance Nanotechnology A well-educated and skilled workforce, and a supporting infrastructure of instrumentation, equipment, and facilities, are essential to progress in developing nanotechnology. The committee believes that the NNI’s progress on these deliverables has been good to date, but it believes that more attention is needed to education. The federal government maintains a suite of user facilities that support nanoscale R&D, including, for example, the high-intensity X-ray and neutron source facilities operated by DOE, NSF, and NIST. A role of the NNI is to continue to develop infrastructure that specifically addresses the specialized needs of the nanotechnology research community, and federal support can make these state-of-the-art research capabilities accessible to researchers based on merit review. Nanoscale science, engineering, and technology education can help to (1) produce the next generation of researchers and innovators, (2) provide the 21st-century workforce with the math and science education and technological skills it will need to succeed, and (3) inform decision makers in an increasingly technology-driven society. The committee heard from its interviews with representatives of corporations during this study that workers with interdisciplinary skills and background are what companies with R&D programs in nanotechnology are looking for. Satisfying the growing demand for a highly skilled workforce will require a new approach to science and technology education and training. In this regard, the committee notes that while the four existing NNI working groups have accomplished much, there has not been a similar level of coordination or management brought to the NNI goal of developing educational resources and a skilled workforce. It is abundantly clear that “nano” is exciting K-12 students’ interest in science, and this trend should be nurtured. Several NNI workshops have addressed the need to coordinate nanoscale R&D with efforts to strengthen education and workforce development.

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A Matter of Size: Triennial Review of the National Nanotechnology Initiative As new participants in the NNI, the Department of Education and the Department of Labor could help to frame and prioritize the main issues that nanoscale R&D poses for K-12 education and the nation’s workforce. Involvement at the state and local levels could also help to ensure that national policy is flexible enough to accommodate local student needs, enhance teacher training, and encourage the public’s participation in addressing issues related to science education and nanotechnology. This new approach would complement ongoing educational work by S&T agencies whose mission integrates educational objectives with research support, like the National Science Foundation. In this regard, the committee offers the following recommendation: Recommendation. Given that interest in nanotechnology presents a significant opportunity to stimulate renewed involvement in science and technology education and thereby strengthen the nation’s workforce, the committee recommends that the NSET Subcommittee create a working group on education and the workforce that engages the Department of Education and the Department of Labor as active participants. The committee believes that an educational working group within the NSET Subcommittee could consider the opportunities for agency and interagency initiatives to: Support the education of the 21st-century workforce; Encourage U.S. students to undertake graduate studies that include course work in nanoscale science and technology and continue on to work at U.S. scientific institutions; Stimulate dialog on undergraduate interdisciplinary education and the introduction of nanotechnology into current disciplinary curricula; Broker a national dialog involving the nanotechnology centers and facilities that are engaged in educational programs on each center’s strengths and on regional needs and thereby enable a sharing of experiences; Leverage the public’s interest in nanotechnology and broaden people’s understanding, furthering the objective of encouraging minorities and women to take up careers as scientists and engineers; Encourage a dialog with the public and policymakers, in partnership with the working group on public engagement, on nanoscale science, technology, and medicine and their economic potential and societal impacts; and Initiate state and regional dialogs on nanoscale science and engineering education at precollege levels, engaging education professionals and community groups to define regional issues and support innovative initiatives.

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A Matter of Size: Triennial Review of the National Nanotechnology Initiative Recognizing the Importance of and Providing Access to Nanoscience-specific Advice and Expertise In 2004, PCAST was designated as the National Nanotechnology Advisory Panel31 in response to the NRC report Small Wonders, Endless Frontiers and the 21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act.32,33 Although acknowledging designation of the nation’s preeminent committee of science advisors to the government as a welcome testament to the NNI’s importance to the country, the committee concluded that there is an ongoing national need for an independent panel of scientific and technical advisors with operational expertise specific to nanotechnology and nanoscience. Such an advisory panel would be available to provide advice to PCAST, the NSET Subcommittee, and the NNCO on research opportunities, investment strategies, approaches to responsible development, and program priorities focused on nanoscale science and engineering. Specific activities of such a panel could include regular consultation with the leaders of federal agencies participating in the NNI to discuss and provide scientific and technical input and thus help ensure ongoing coordination of NNI program goals, budgets, and reporting. Such meetings could help to build additional new bridges among NNI-participating agencies and to proactively identify emerging societal implications of advances in nanoscale science, engineering, and technology—the committee has not seen any evidence of PCAST doing this. The many advisory committees established across the federal government that operate under the Federal Advisory Committee Act provide multiple successful models for emulation in establishing this nanoscale-focused advisory panel. The committee believes that the President’s Information Technology Advisory Committee, as it operated before its responsibilities also were assumed by PCAST, is a good model for a future nanoscale advisory panel. The committee recognizes that PCAST in its role as NNAP created a nanotechnology technical advisory group (TAG) of about 50 government and private sector nanotechnology scientists to assist PCAST in its execution of its NNAP-related tasks. However, the committee agrees with assessments it received from many quarters that the TAG is not an effective mechanism and that a more focused and proactive approach is required. The committee concluded that the size and scope of the NNI merit a smaller, more structured and effective, dedicated advisory panel. The chartering of a specific NNI-level advisory mechanism would provide the government the opportunity to establish a panel of experts optimized for addressing nanoscale R&D and nanotechnology issues specific to NNI goals rather than relying on the advice of the multiplicity of agency advisory panels that are focused on the mission needs of those agencies. Such an advisory panel would be well positioned also to provide advice on (1) prioritizing the support for short- and long-

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A Matter of Size: Triennial Review of the National Nanotechnology Initiative term research, (2) balancing the allocation of resources for large-scale centers and the work of individual principal investigators, and (3) giving expert advice on the value of high-risk but high-reward research requiring interdisciplinary expertise. Therefore, the committee offers the following recommendation: Recommendation. So that a source of independent expert advice on nanoscience and nanotechnology is readily available to the NSET Subcommittee, the NNCO, and PCAST, the committee recommends that the federal government establish an independent advisory panel with specific operational expertise in nanoscale science and engineering; management of research centers, facilities, and partnerships; and interdisciplinary collaboration to facilitate cutting-edge research on and effective and responsible development of nanotechnology. SUMMARY OBSERVATION The committee believes that the NNI is successfully establishing R&D programs with wider impact than could have been expected from separate agency funding without coordination. The NNI’s management structure involves both top-down leadership and broad R&D community involvement that can be characterized as grassroots or bottom-up support. Collectively, the sum of the effort has translated so far into tangible, but difficult to quantify, results. For the continued success of the program, arguably the most important factors may be ongoing federal government support for and commitment to achievement of the NNI’s goals, which to a large extent also reflect broad national goals. Stability and continuity of the program will lead to future gains. As a long-term investment by the nation, the NNI requires the application of foresight and vision, stability in goals, and continuity in funding support to ensure realization of the benefits whose development the initiative is meant to catalyze. NOTES    1. Nanoscale Science, Engineering and Technology Subcommittee, Committee on Technology, National Science and Technology Council. 2005. The National Nanotechnology Initiative: Research and Development Leading to a Revolution in Technology and Industry. Supplement to the President’s FY 2006 Budget Request. March.    2. Current NSET Subcommittee membership consists of officials from the Departments of Defense (DOD), Energy (DOE), Homeland Security (DHS), Justice (DOJ), Transportation (DOT), Agriculture (USDA), Commerce (DOC), State (DOS), Treasury (DOTreas), Education (ED), and Labor (DOL), and from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), National Science Foundation (NSF), U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (U.S. NRC), National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Food and Drug Administra-

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A Matter of Size: Triennial Review of the National Nanotechnology Initiative    tion (FDA), Intelligence Technology Innovation Center (ITIC), International Trade Commission (ITC), U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).    3. Public Law 108-153, available at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?c108:4:./temp/~c108jIZb59::, accessed July 2006.    4. Such a panel had been called for in a 2002 NRC review of the NNI. In 2001, following a request from the White House National Economic Council and the NNI-participating agencies, the National Research Council (NRC) conducted a review of the NNI and an evaluation of the NNI research portfolio, the suitability of federal investments, and interagency coordination efforts. The resultant report, Small Wonders, Endless Frontiers: A Review of the National Nanotechnology Initiative (National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 2002), was released in 2002 with 10 recommendations on the NNI. The NSET Subcommittee subsequently provided responses to each of these recommendations, which pointed to significant progress in recommended program areas (such as the interface between biosciences and support for instrumentation) and the steady development of an interdisciplinary research community, responsive to the needs of society.    5. President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. 2005. The National Nanotechnology Initiative at Five Years: Assessment and Recommendations of the National Nanotechnology Advisory Panel. May. Available at http://www.nano.gov/FINAL_PCAST_NANO_REPORT.pdf, accessed July 2006.    6. Nanoscale Science, Engineering and Technology Subcommittee, Committee on Technology, National Science and Technology Council. 2005. The National Nanotechnology Initiative: Research and Development Leading to a Revolution in Technology and Industry. Supplement to the President’s FY 2006 Budget Request. March.    7. For more information on the program component areas, see in this chapter the subsection titled “Development of an Updated Strategic Plan.”    8. K. Koizumi, Congressional Action on R&D in the FY 2006 Budget, American Association for the Advancement of Science, available at http://www.aaas.org/spp/rd/ca06.pdf, accessed March 2006.    9. See http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/01/20060131-5.html, accessed March 2006.    10. The workshop agenda and a list of participants are given in Appendix C.    11. Nanoscale Science, Engineering and Technology Subcommittee, Committee on Technology, National Science and Technology Council (NSTC). 2004. The National Nanotechnology Initiative Strategic Plan. Washington, D.C.: NSTC. December.    12. The societal dimensions component encompasses three subtopics: (a) research directed at environmental, health, and safety impacts of nanotechnology development and risk assessment of such impacts; (b) education-related activities such as development of materials for schools, undergraduate programs, technical training, and public outreach; and, (c) research directed at identifying and quantifying the broad implications of nanotechnology for society, including social, economic, workforce, educational, ethical, and legal implications. (Nanoscale Science, Engineering and Technology Subcommittee, Committee on Technology, National Science and Technology Council. 2005. The National Nanotechnology Initiative: Research and Development Leading to a Revolution in Technology and Industry. Supplement to the President’s FY 2006 Budget. March.)    13. Nanoscale Science, Engineering and Technology Subcommittee, Committee on Technology, National Science and Technology Council. 2005. The National Nanotechnology Initiative: Research and Development Leading to a Revolution in Technology and Industry. Supplement to the President’s FY 2006 Budget Request. March.    14. Nanoscale Science, Engineering and Technology Subcommittee, Committee on Technology, National Science and Technology Council (NSTC). 2004. The National Nanotechnology Initiative Strategic Plan. Washington, D.C.: NSTC. December.

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A Matter of Size: Triennial Review of the National Nanotechnology Initiative    15. This information was communicated to the committee through agency presentations and discussions during the committee’s workshops.    16. The Wassenaar Arrangement was established as a means to contribute to regional and international security and stability by promoting transparency and greater responsibility in transfers of conventional arms and dual-use goods and technologies, thus preventing destabilizing accumulations. Participating states seek, through their national policies, to ensure that transfers of these items do not contribute to the development or enhancement of military capabilities that undermine these goals and are not diverted to support such capabilities.    17. J. Solomon, Praxair, presentation to this committee, March 24, 2005.    18. See http://www.nano.gov/html/res/SRC_ExecutiveSummary1.pdf, accessed March 2006.    19. See http://nano.gov/, accessed March 2006.    20. Director, Defense Research and Engineering, Department of Defense (DOD), Defense Nano-technology Research and Development Programs, 2005. Washington, D.C.: DOD. May 17.    21. Asia Nano Forum, 3rd International Workshop to Develop a Global Nanotechnology Network, May 26-27, 2005, Saarbrücken, Germany.    22. Nanoscale Science, Engineering and Technology Subcommittee, Committee on Technology, National Science and Technology Council. 2005. The National Nanotechnology Initiative: Research and Development Leading to a Revolution in Technology and Industry. Supplement to the President’s FY2006 Budget Request. March.    23. See http://www.ncnr.nist.gov/whatwedo.html, accessed March 2006.    24. See http://www.nano.gov/html/society/ELSI.html, accessed March 2006.    25. National Assessment of Educational Progress Achievement Levels 1992-1998. Available at http://www.nagb.org/pubs/sciencebook.pdf, accessed March 2006.    26. Highlights from the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) 2003, December 2004. Available at http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2005/2005005.pdf, accessed March 2006.    27. National Science Board. 2006. Science and Engineering Indicators 2006. Vol. 1, NSB 06-01; Vol. 2, NSB 06-01A. Arlington, Va.: National Science Foundation.    28. National Research Council. 2005. Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employ-ing America for a Brighter Economic Future (prepublication copy). Washington D.C.: The National Academies Press.    29. See http://www.nsf.gov/discoveries/index.jsp?prio_area=10, accessed March 2006.    30. See http://www.nsf.gov/news/overviews/nano/index.jsp, accessed March 2006.    31. Executive Order 13349 was signed on July 23, 2004, to designate PCAST to serve as the NNAP.    32. National Research Council. 2002. Small Wonders, Endless Frontiers: A Review of the National Nanotechnology Initiative. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.    33. Public Law 108-153, 21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act, January 2003.