No Input is Too Small: Comment on National Nanotechnology Initiative’s Strategic Plan

Starting today, public comment is being accepted on the draft Strategic Plan for the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI), which is posted at the NNI Strategy Portal.  The NNI is an interagency program for coordinating Federal research and development in nanotechnology, which is the understanding and control of matter at dimensions between approximately 1 and 100 nanometers.  At these super small scales, unique phenomena emerge, enabling the development of materials and devices with novel applications.  Research in nanoscale science and engineering has the potential to bring about new nanotechnology innovations, such as improving how we collect and store energy, reinforce materials, sense contaminants, target drugs, and shrink and accelerate computational devices.

The NNI Strategic Plan is the framework that underpins the nanotechnology work of 25 NNI member agencies. It aims to ensure that advances in nanotechnology R&D and their applications to agency missions continue unabated in this fledgling field. Its purpose is to facilitate achievement of the NNI vision by laying out targeted guidance for agency leaders, program managers, and the research community regarding planning and implementation of nanotechnology R&D investments and activities.

Informed by feedback and recommendations from a broad array of stakeholders, the Strategic Plan represents the consensus of the participating agencies as to the high-level goals and priorities of the NNI and specific objectives for at least the next three years. It describes the four overarching goalsof the NNI, the major Program Component Areas established in 2004 to broadly track the categories of investments needed to ensure the NNI’s success (reported every year in the NNI Supplement to the President’s Budget), and the near-term objectives that will be the concrete steps taken toward collectively achieving the NNI goals and vision. Finally, the Plan describes collaborative interagency activities, including three Nanotechnology Signature Initiativesthat are part of a new model of specifically targeted and closely coordinated interagency, cross-sector collaboration designed to accelerate innovation in areas of national priority.

You may review the draft Plan and submit comments of approximately one page or less (4,000 characters) from now until November 30, 2010.  Head on over to the NNI Strategy Portal or send your input to nnistrategy@ostp.gov. (Note: Please do not include in your comments information of a confidential nature, such as sensitive personal information or proprietary information. All public comments are subject to being made available for public inspection, including being posted here at the portal.)

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy appreciates your thoughtful comments on the draft, which will help to strengthen the final Plan. Thank you for your contributions as we work toward the NNI vision of a future in which the ability to understand and control matter at the nanoscale leads to a revolution in technology and industry that benefits society.

Travis Earles is Assistant Director for Nanotechnology in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

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