interaction of the NNCO and the NSET Subcommittee with the higher levels of the government. They also aim for greater coordination in the planning and execution of major efforts such as the signature initiatives; adoption and promulgation of best practices, such as technology roadmapping; enhanced information management and sharing through a restructured, more interactive website; and enhanced coordination with entities outside the U.S. federal government.
Specifically, this section considers the need and opportunity for substantially increased interagency information-sharing and access to information by the wide variety of NNI stakeholders, especially through the NNI website. This chapter also discusses the role of the five signature initiatives and the NSET Subcommittee working groups in supporting the NNI community and recommends specific actions to strengthen interactions between the NSET Subcommittee and the NNI community.
Information Management and Communication: Website Clearinghouse
The effective acquisition and sharing of information is important for the success of any organization. It is essential in an enterprise as diverse, interdisciplinary, and complex as the NNI. Indeed, there are probably few initiatives in which effective communication with such a wide variety of stakeholders is as vital for success as the NNI.
Every one of the participating NNI agencies supports and executes mission-oriented communication processes of its own. Some are complex, especially in the larger, more research-oriented agencies. A principal responsibility of the NNCO is communication: taking advantage of and building on agency processes and the information that they represent to ensure enhanced interagency awareness, communication, and coordination. The complexity of the NNI stakeholder communities described in Chapter 3 requires a creative approach to the nanotechnology communication challenge.
The NNI’s communication could play an even more vital role in encouraging economic activity in nanotechnology by increasing general awareness of emerging technologies, by encouraging students to enter STEM fields related to nanotechnology in order to develop an educated workforce, and by educating the public on EHS and other effects of nanotechnology. Those activities necessarily cover a wide demographic range—K-12 students, universities, business circles, and the general population. The tools to address communication are varied and need to be appropriate to the intended audience; they may include methods as diverse as workshops, web resources, and even educational games. They will change as new communication technologies emerge and communication norms change.
The World Wide Web’s nano.gov is a primary vehicle for meeting that challenge, and it has been successful and valuable in several ways. It provides considerable information on programs, resources, news, and events. For some purposes,