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.


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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