A robust national strategic plan is needed for nanotechnology-related environmental, health, and safety research that builds on the five categories of research needs identified in the 2008 NNI document. The development of the plan should include input from a broad set of stakeholders across the research community and other interested parties in government, nongovernment, and industrial groups. The strategy should focus on research to support risk assessment and management, should include value-of-information considerations, and should identify

  • Specific research needs for the future in such topics as potential exposures to engineered nanomaterials, toxicity, toxicokinetics, environmental fate, and standardization of testing.

  • The current state of knowledge in each specific area.

  • The gap between the knowledge at hand and the knowledge needed.

  • Research priorities for understanding life-cycle risks to humans and the environment.

  • The estimated resources that would be needed to address the gap over a specified time frame.

As part of a broader strategic plan, NNI should continue to foster the successful interagency coordination effort that led to its 2008 document with the aim of ensuring that the federal plan is an integral part of the broader national strategic plan for investments in nanotechnology-related environmental, health, and safety research. In doing so, it will need a more robust gap analysis. The federal plan should identify milestones and mechanisms to ascertain progress and identify investment strategies for each agency. Such a federal plan could feed into a national strategic plan but would not itself be a broad, multistakeholder national strategic plan. Development of a national strategic plan should begin immediately and not await further refinement of the current federal strategy.

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