On March 25th, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology released its review of the National Nanotechnology Initiative, noting the importance of health, safety and environmental research to the success of nanotechnology and NIOSH’s role in that research.
The report – released by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, a group of 21 experts from across the country, is the third in a decade-long series of assessments of the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI), which coordinates Federal research and development activities involving the manipulation of matter at scales smaller than 100 billionths of a meter. At such small scales ordinary materials exhibit extraordinary properties that can be invaluable in a range of applications including electronics, computing, energy and fuels, medicine and national defense. The report concludes that the NNI—which provided $12 billion in investments by 25 federal agencies over the past decade, has had a “catalytic and substantial impact” on the growth of U.S. nanotechnology innovation and should be continued. However, the report warns, the United States stands to surrender its global lead in nanotechnology if it does not address some pressing needs.
Among the reports primary recommendations are:
§ Better coordinate and rationalize the Nation’s approach to identifying any environmental and health risks that may plausibly be associated with nanotechnology and develop a coordinated strategic research plan to fill knowledge gaps and decision-making needs of government an industry.
§ Strengthen the National Nanotechnology Coordinating Office.
§ Strengthen NNI commitments to explore in a more orderly fashion—environmental health and safety issues.
To read the full report or for more information on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology please go to: http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/ostp/pcast