- Nanotechnology 101
- Nanotechnology and You
- About the NNI
- What is the NNI?
- The NSET Subcommittee
- NSET's Participating Federal Partners
- Working Groups & Coordinators
- National Nanotechnology Coordination Office (NNCO)
- Contact Information
- Collaborations and Funding
- Nanotechnology Signature Initiatives
- FAQs for Business
- Federal Funding & Infrastructure
- Business Development
- Publications and Resources
The Nanoscale Science, Engineering, and Technology (NSET) Subcommittee has chartered subsidiary working groups to provide a structure to improve the effectiveness and productivity of the Subcommittee and its participating agencies in areas that will benefit from focused interagency attention and activity. There are currently two working groups: the Nanotechnology Environmental & Health Implications Working Group (NEHI) and the Nanomanufacturing, Industry Liaison & Innovation Working Group (NILI).
Based on a 2010 recommendation from the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, the NNI designates coordinators in cross-cutting topical areas to track developments, lead in organizing activities, report periodically to the NSET Subcommittee, and serve as central points of contact for NNI information in the corresponding areas. These coordinators work with NNI agencies to identify priorities and emerging opportunities and to strengthen interagency coordination on these critical topics. These positions currently include: Coordinator for Standards Development; Coordinator for Environmental, Health, and Safety Research; Coordinator for Global Issues; and Coordinator for Education, Engagement, and Societal Dimensions.
Nanotechnology has the potential to significantly transform society in many key areas including new materials, processes, and products. In order to fully realize the promise of nanotechnology, Federal agencies support research to understand the environmental, health, and safety (EHS) implications of nanotechnology and provide guidance on the safety of nanomaterials across the product life cycle. The NSET Subcommittee’s NEHI Working Group provides a forum for focused interagency collaborations on EHS and leadership in establishing the national nanotechnology EHS research agenda, in addition to communicating EHS information among NNI agencies and to the public. The combined efforts of the nanotechnology R&D community, public health advocacy groups, and the public are required to fully address EHS research priorities and strengthen the scientific foundation of risk assessment and risk management of nanotechnology. NEHI provides the nexus, as appropriate, for interactions between agencies and these diverse communities. The sum of these interactions and activities enhances the value of NNI efforts and provides a collaborative approach to examining public health and environmental concerns about nanomaterials. NEHI member agencies include those with direct responsibilities for public, workplace, and environmental safety, and agencies involved in science, education, and policy.
A sustained commitment to nanotechnology-based innovation is key to realizing the NNI vision. This commitment is brought about by cooperation, dialogue, and partnerships among all the stakeholders in the nanotechnology innovation ecosystem. The NSET Subcommittee’s NILI Working Group coordinates activities in this area. NILI promotes and facilitates exchange of information and collaborations among Federal agencies, academia, industry, and regional, state, and local (RSL) organizations to build U.S. leadership in nanotechnology-enabled products and commercialization through activities such as developing and maintaining databases of nanotechnology-related technology transfers, nanotechnology standards, and Federal regulations across agencies. More information on these resources is available at www.nano.gov/NILI. NILI periodically organizes workshops that bring together RSL stakeholders. In particular, NILI seeks to help the NNI agencies organize coherent support structures and effective or best technology transfer practices, making good use of the expertise of industry-initiated liaison groups. These liaison groups are a conduit for partnerships between the NNI agencies and industry sectors and generally represent particular industries (e.g., electronics, chemicals, and forest products). A significant component of supporting the innovation process is fostering development of standard nanotechnology reference materials, terminology, and measurement and characterization methods. As with the other NSET Subcommittee working groups, communication, outreach, and engagement activities are significant foci of the NILI Working Group.
Coordinator positions were added to the NNI organizational structure as part of the updated 2014 Strategic Plan. The individuals serving in these positions are appointed from either the NNCO or an NNI agency. Initially two coordinators were identified:
- Coordinator for Standards Development: Ajit Jillavenkatesa (National Institute of Standards and Technology)
- Coordinator for Environmental, Health, and Safety Research: Treye Thomas (Consumer Product Safety Commission)
The coordinator mechanism serves as an agile and efficient means to monitor and coordinate agency interests and interactions in these areas. As a result, two additional positions of this type have been established:
- Coordinator for Global Issues: Chris Cannizzaro (Department of State)
Coordinator for Education, Engagement, and Societal Dimensions: John Bobalek (Department of Treasury)
The Coordinator for Global Issues assumes some of the functions of the previous Global Issues in Nanotechnology (GIN) Working Group. This coordinator will work in close concert with other bodies, including NSET’s NEHI Working Group (considering the strong global interest in EHS research); the National Science and Technology Council's Subcommittee on Topics in International Science, Technology, and Innovation; and the nanotechnology subgroup of the Emerging Technologies Interagency Policy Coordination Committee, which engages in numerous international dialogues that involve nanotechnology, particularly with respect to regulatory aspects. The Coordinator for Education, Engagement, and Societal Dimensions consolidates related activities in the areas of formal and informal education, public engagement and communication, and societal dimensions, including the ethical, legal, and societal implications of nanotechnology. This involves some functions of the previous Nanotechnology Public Engagement and Communications (NPEC) Working Group, such as preparation for and organization of public outreach activities and other events.
The transition of international interactions and public engagement activities from a working group structure to a coordinator function provides an opportunity to renew and concentrate efforts in these areas. Groups of interested NSET representatives serve as a resource and information distribution channel for the corresponding coordinators and may convene informally for meetings or other events on an occasional basis. Additional coordinators may be appointed as needed.