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NATIONAL NANOTECHNOLOGY INITIATIVE
LEADING TO THE NEXT INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION
President Clinton's FY 2001 budget request includes a $227 million (84%)increase in the government's investment in nanotechnology research anddevelopment. The Administration is making this major new initiative,called the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI), a top priority. The emerging fields of nanoscience and nanoengineering the ability tomanipulate and move matter - are leading to unprecedented understandingand control over the fundamental building blocks of all physical things. These developments are likely to change the way almost everything fromvaccines to computers to automobile tires to objects not yet imagined is designed and made.
The initiative, which nearly doubles the investment over FY 2000 willstrengthen scientific disciplines and create critical interdisciplinaryopportunities. Agencies participating in NNI include the NationalScience Foundation (NSF), the Department of Defense (DOD), the Departmentof Energy (DOE), National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Aeronauticsand Space Administration (NASA), and Department of Commerce's NationalInstitute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Roughly 70% of thenew funding proposed under the NNI will go to university-based research,which will help meet the growing demand for workers with nanoscale scienceand engineering skills. Many of these research goals may take 20 or moreyears to achieve, but that is precisely why there is an important rolefor the Federal government.Funding by Agency:
||FY 2000 ($M)
||FY 2001 ($M)
|National Science Foundation
|Department of Defense
|Department of Energy
|Department of Commerce
|National Institutes of Health
Nanotechnology is the builder's new frontier and its potential impactis compelling: This initiative establishes Grand Challenges to fund interdisciplinaryresearch and education teams, including centers and networks, that workfor major, long-term objectives. Some of the potential breakthroughsthat may be possible include:
- Shrinking the entire contents of the Library of Congress in a devicethe size of a sugar cube through the expansion of mass storage electronicsto multi-terabit memory capacity that will increase the memory storageper unit surface a thousand fold;
- Making materials and products from the bottom-up, that is, by buildingthem up from atoms and molecules. Bottom-up manufacturing shouldrequire less material and pollute less;
- Developing materials that are 10 times stronger than steel, but afraction of the weight for making all kinds of land, sea, air and spacevehicles lighter and more fuel efficient;
- Improving the computer speed and efficiency of minuscule transistorsand memory chips by factors of millions making today's Pentium IIIs seemslow;
- Using gene and drug delivery to detect cancerous cells by nanoengineeredMRI contrast agents or target organs in the human body;
- Removing the finest contaminants from water and air to promote acleaner environment and potable water;
- Doubling the energy efficiency of solar cells.
The NNI Investment Strategy:
This initiative builds upon previous and current nanotechnology programs,including some early investment from some of the participating agencies. The research strategy listed below is balanced across the following fundingmechanisms: fundamental research, grand challenges, centers and networksof excellence, research infrastructure, as well as ethical, legal and socialimplications and workforce programs. This initiative will initiallysupport five kind of activities:
Long-term fundamental nanoscience and engineering research that willbuild upon a fundamental understanding and synthesis of nanometer-sizebuilding blocks with potential breakthroughs in areas such as materialsand manufacturing, nanoelectronics, medicine and healthcare, environmentand energy, chemical and pharmaceutical industries, biotechnology and agriculture,computation and information technology, and national security. Thisinvestment will provide sustained support to individual investigators andsmall groups doing fundamental, innovative research and will promote university-industry-federallaboratory and interagency partnerships.
Grand Challenges that are listed above.
Centers and Networks of Excellence that will encourage research networkingand shared academic users' facilities. These nanotechnology researchcenters will play an important role in development and utilization of specifictools and in promoting partnerships in the coming years.
Research Infrastructures will be funded for metrology, instrumentation,modeling and simulation, and user facilities. The goal is to developa flexible enabling infrastructure so that new discoveries and innovationscan be rapidly commercialized by the U.S. industry.
Ethical, Legal, Societal Implications and Workforce Education andTraining efforts will be undertaken to promote a new generation of skilledworkers in the multidisciplinary perspectives necessary for rapid progressin nanotechnology. The impact nanotechnology has on society from legal,ethical, social, economic, and workforce preparation perspectives willbe studied. The research will help us identify potential problemsand teach us how to intervene efficiently in the future on measures thatmay need to be taken.
Funding by NNI Research Portfolio:
||Centers And Networks of Excellence
||Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications and Workforce
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