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11/2/2010
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White House Solicits Public Opinion On Nanotechnology Plan

The National Nanotechnology Initiative has posted a draft of its strategic plan for comment on its website.

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The White House is seeking the public's opinion on its draft plan for directing federal research and development (R&D) in nanotechnology.

People can comment on the National Nanotechnology Initiative's (NNI's) draft Strategic Plan on the NNI Strategy Portal, according to a White House blog post by Travis Earles, assistant director for nanotechnology in the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Alternatively, people can email comments to nnistrategy@ostp.gov. The NNI is asking people to submit comments of one page or less, or 4,000 characters.

Nanotechnology -- which focuses on controlling matter at dimensions between approximately 1 and 100 nanometers -- is one of three technological areas identified by the Obama administration for particular focus.

Together with IT and biotechnology, the three make up what the White House is calling the "golden triangle" of technology. The White House is actively seeking input on how best to invest in all three to provide economic benefit to society, and the NNI is spearheading its nanotechnology efforts.

Twenty-five agencies make up the NNI, which worked together to create a strategic plan that aims to merge nanotechnology research and development with how it applies to individual agency missions as well as overall national interest.

The plan lays out high-level priorities of the NNI for three years, reiterating the four main goals established in the 2007 Strategic Plan.

As they were then, priorities remain to promote a world-class nanotechnology R&D program; to transfer technologies developed into commercial products; to develop educational resources, a skilled workforce and infrastructure to promote nanotechnology; and to support responsible development.

The plan also outlines three Nanotechnology Signature Initiatives: renewable energy, sustainable manufacturing and next-generation electronics that will require cross-agency collaboration.

The federal government established the NNI in 2001. The NNI is meant to provide guidance to agency officials, program managers and the research community as they find ways to implement nanotechnology -- still in its early stages of adoption and R&D -- in their work.

Fifteen NNI agencies involved have budgets for nanotechnology R&D in 2011; the total proposed NNI budget for the year is $1.76 billion. Since the NNI was formed, the federal government has invested nearly $14 billion in it.

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