Wednesday, July 15, 2009

About the NNI

The NNI provides a vision of the long-term opportunities and benefits of nanotechnology. By serving as a central locus for communication, cooperation, and collaboration for all Federal agencies that wish to participate, the NNI brings together the expertise needed to guide and support the advancement of this broad and complex field.

The NNI creates a framework for a comprehensive nanotechnology R&D program by establishing shared goals, priorities, and strategies, and it provides avenues for each individual agency to leverage the resources of all participating agencies.
Today the NNI consists of the individual and cooperative nanotechnology-related activities of 25 Federal agencies with a range of research and regulatory roles and responsibilities. Thirteen of the participating agencies have R&D budgets that relate to nanotechnology, with the reported NNI budget representing the collective sum of these. The NNI as a program does not fund research; however, it informs and influences the Federal budget and planning processes through its member agencies.

Goals of the NNI

• Advance a world-class nanotechnology research and development program.
• Foster the transfer of new technologies into products for commercial and public benefit.
• Develop and sustain educational resources, a skilled workforce, and the supporting infrastructure and tools to advance nanotechnology.
• Support responsible development of nanotechnology.


The ability to image, measure, model, and manipulate matter on the nanoscale is leading to new technologies that will impact virtually every sector of our economy and our daily lives. Nanoscale science, engineering, and technology are enabling promising new materials and applications across many fields. Realizing these possibilities requires continued research and accelerated innovation. The United States has been and is now the recognized leader in nanotechnology R&D, but this lead cannot be assumed to be permanent. Thus, the NNI is as important as ever to ensuring U.S. leadership in nanotechnology R&D.

The NNI has created a thriving nanoscale science and engineering R&D environment within the United States. As a result, scientific understanding of nanometer-scale phenomena has expanded enormously. An extensive network of R&D centers is already established. Commercialization resulting from the NNI-supported research is growing. Yet exploiting the full value that nanotechnology offers depends on sustained R&D. Barriers to innovation and technology transfer need to be lowered. Researchers, educators, and technicians with new skills are required. Furthermore, nanotechnology must be developed responsibly.