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The National Nanotechnology Initiative from a Policy Perspective

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The National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI), now in its fifth year, has grown to a $1 billion/year program with participation by over 20 agencies. The NNI defines nanotechnology as the understanding, control, and use of matter at dimensions (roughly 1 to 100 nanometers) at which unique phenomena occur. Nanotechnology encompasses a broad range of disciplines, areas of research, applications, and industries, and advances are announced daily by researchers and companies around the world. Nations and businesses are moving quickly in hopes of reaping the benefits of this emerging technology. At the same time, concerns have been raised regarding unknown risks associated with the novel materials. Within this dynamic setting, the NNI is working to balance and leverage investments, to stimulate innovation and promote transfer of research to commercial use and public benefit, to assess and manage risks, and to communicate with and engage the public. This talk will provide an overview of the NNI from a policy perspective and will present results of the recently approved report by the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) of its assessment of and recommendations for improving the NNI.

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