White House wants comments on nanotechnology plan

White House releases draft strategy for next three years

The White House is seeking comments on its plans for a $1.8 billion research and development program aimed at broadening the application of nanotechnology.

Nanotechnology works with matter at a very small scale, ranging from 1 to 100 nanometers, with a nanometer being one-billionth of a meter. Such technology is already in use in the areas of manufacturing, pharmaceuticals and electronics.

The National Nanotechnology Initiative would spur further development in a broad array of fields, including energy, health, national defense and intelligence, computation and measurement.

The draft strategic plan was put together by 25 agencies such as the White House Office of Science & Technology and the National Science and Technology Council, as well as scientific community leaders, who have been working on nanotechnology policy since 2001.


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Comments on the draft plan will be accepted until Nov. 30, according to a White House notice published Nov. 1.

The plan lays out these goals for nanotechnology research during the next three years:

  • Advancing world-class nanotechnology research and development.
  • Fostering the transfer of new technologies into products for commercial and public benefits.
  • Developing and sustaining education, a skilled workforce and other infrastructure to support advanced nanotechnology.
  • Supporting responsible development of nanotechnology, including risk assessment and mitigation.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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Reader comments

Wed, Nov 3, 2010 jack someplace

excellent initiative. I think this new 100 year starship program isn't good because of the stated goal of interstellar travel, because of all the things that will come from it in r and d spending that would not have gotten much funding had it just been that, r and d. This will include human enhancement, artificial intelligence, the works. This nanotech initiative tackles the side of nanotech. I think the only thing I would do is broaden the investment to 25 billion, and have it encomapass r and d in biotech and information technology. Then you have another r and d synergy going on, ontop of the department of defense, the airforce, NASA, and the department of energy. Excellent initiatve. Focus on things the private sector is not focusing on. For example, super tensile strengh matherials. Carbon nanotubes were heralded as a material to be used in a future space elevator, but private companies are more interested in its uses in electronics, manufacturing and nano-systems, the material science has taken a backburner. Perhaps this public program can complement this focus on electornics in the private sector with public focus on materials science, which will both complement and benefit the private sector research and vice versa, advancing both enterprises. I say we turn NASA into an R and D program, not a space program. I think companies will use the technology eventually that iwll come out of nasa to make space access affordable. NASA, the energy department and the department of defense have historically acted as research and development factories...just make i t even more so, and form a partnership-synergy with bussiness like google, so that some of the overhead costs are shielded. Private comapnies can then have a stake from such investments in any technology developed and then implement it in the private sector...which will ten produce money for them that they can in turn re-invest in the r and d programs from the government. Its really a wonderful venture, more of it please, less of the other departments like department of education or agriculture, that can be left to the states...invest everything in research and entitlements.

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