New plan aims to accelerate research translation, advance equity

Today, on National Nanotechnology Day, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office (NNCO) unveiled the 2021 National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) Strategic Plan. This strategy details a new framework to ensure that the United States continues to lead the world not only in nanoscience discoveries, but in translating and manufacturing its products to benefit all of America. In addition to identifying priorities for the NNI to best support the research community in the United States, the plan prioritizes efforts to expand sustainable infrastructure and advance equity in the nanotechnology workforce.

“The role of nanotechnology in our response to the pandemic—from vaccine delivery to protective clothing to testing kits—emphasizes the potential for small science to have big impacts,” said National Nanotechnology Coordination Office Director Dr. Lisa E. Friedersdorf. “This strategic plan charts an exciting path forward for the National Nanotechnology Initiative to ensure continued progress in nanotechnology research and development, and to attract students from across all of America.”

Nanotechnology research and development requires access to specialized tools and facilities. This plan emphasizes the need to expand and refresh the research infrastructure, and provide access that supports researchers and small business across all of America. This research infrastructure also plays a critical role in training the future workforce for high-paying jobs.

Since the launch of the NNI in 2000, nanoscience has transformed from an emerging area of research to a technology that is fueling real-world applications in areas as diverse as consumer electronics, water purification, infrastructure, medicine, energy, space exploration, and agriculture. Nanotechnology underpins and enables other critical technologies, including quantum computing and artificial intelligence, and will also help address the most significant challenges facing the world, including pandemic preparedness, climate change, and food insecurity. This strategic plan lays out a path to ensure continued U.S. leadership in this important area.

More on the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI): The NNI was announced in 2000 and codified on Dec. 3, 2003, through the 21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act (15 USC §7501), to enhance interagency coordination of nanotechnology research and development; support a shared infrastructure; enable leveraging of resources while avoiding duplication; and establish shared goals, priorities, and strategies that complement agency-specific missions and activities.

More information on the NNI, including upcoming events and opportunities to engage, is available on Nano.gov. Inquiries and comments also can be sent to info@nnco.nano.gov.

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