Got a big idea about nanotechnology? The White House wants it

Office of Science and Technology Policy wants input from the public as it develops $1.8 billion National Nanotechnology Initiative

The White House is seeking ideas from the public as the Obama administration develops the 2010 Strategic Plan for the National Nanotechnology Initiative to  foster the research and development of solutions that use and manipulate matter at the atomic level.

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy is leading a group of 25 agencies to coordinate the discovery, development and deployment of nanotechnology with a proposed fiscal 2011 budget of $1.76 billion, according to a White House blog entry  coauthored by policy analyst Heather Evans and Assistant Director of Nanotechnology Travis Earles.

With that proposal, the total federal spending on nanotechnology would amount to $14 billion dating from 2001.


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The nanotechnology strategy seeks to advance research and development, develop technologies for commercial and public benefit, develop workforce and education resources, and support responsible development.

The nanotechnology field encompasses biology, chemistry, engineering, materials science and physics. “Working at the nanoscale [level], scientists today are creating new tools, products and technologies to develop,” the White House bloggers write. For example, there may be nanoscale applications for clean energy, durable materials, clean drinking water, disease detection and treatment, low-energy lighting, chemical detection sensors and hazardous materials cleanup, according to the blog post.

“At the same time, the novel properties of nanoscale materials that are so attractive for some applications may pose novel risks. Thus it is important that research agendas appropriately address environmental, health, and safety concerns,” the blog adds.

The White House published a Request for Information in the Federal Register on July 6 to outline how the public can provide ideas for achieving the goals. The themes covered include research priorities, investment, coordination, partnerships, evaluation, and policy. Comments are due by Aug. 15.

 

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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