implementing formal interagency plans for the signature initiatives and reporting annually on their progress.

Finding: Whereas the breadth of nanotechnology research and development under the NNI and the diversity of agency missions and needs make it difficult and impractical for the NSET Subcommittee to manage and coordinate the entire portfolio of activities in support of NNI goals, the signature initiatives offer clear opportunities and pathways for accelerating progress through “close coordination” in defined fields of scientific and technologic importance.

More active, explicit, and transparent interagency planning, management, and coordination are needed, including jointly planned and even executed research programs, in order to increase the progress and impact of the signature initiatives.

Recommendation 5-1: Each signature initiative team should develop a strategic plan. The NSET Subcommittee and the signature initiative teams should expand the associated white papers to include specific goals (outcomes) with quantifiable technical targets where possible, milestones for reaching them, expected outputs and short-term outcomes, and roles and responsibilities of the (two or more) participating agencies, the NSET Subcommittee, and the NNCO. Planned actions and outputs and short-term outcomes to document progress should be reported online and in the annual report.

A key initial measure of success for the NNI will be the NSET Subcommittee and the signature initiatives teams’ performance in developing and implementing the strategic plans.

The committee observes that the PCAST 2012 report made a similar although less-detailed recommendation in this regard.6


Nanoscale Science, Engineering, and Technology Working Groups

As described in Chapter 3, the NSET Subcommittee has created four working groups—Global Issues in Nanotechnology (GIN), Nanotechnology Environmental and Health Implications (NEHI), Nanotechnology, Industry Liaisons, and


6 See President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), Report to the President and Congress on the Fourth Assessment of the National Nanotechnology Initiative, April 2012, Executive Office of the President, available at, accessed November 28, 2012.

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