Goal Two Objectives

Goal 2: Foster the transfer of new technologies into products for commercial and public benefit.

As detailed in the 2014 NNI Stragegic Plan, the objectives for this goal are as follows:

2.1. Assist the nanotechnology-based business community in understanding the Federal Government’s R&D funding and regulatory environment.

2.1.1. Disseminate information on supporting sponsors and programs to assist transfer of nanotechnology-based technologies into Federal Government acquisition programs.

2.1.2. Improve public access to informational materials about resources available that support nanotechnology commercialization.

2.1.3. Provide informational materials, including points of contact, to explain issues pertinent to nanotechnology-enabled products and businesses.

The 2011 Presidential Memorandum on Accelerating Technology Transfer and Commercial­ization of Federal Research in Support of High-Growth Business directs Federal agencies “to accelerate technology transfer and support private sector commercialization.” NNI agencies recognize the need to raise public and business community awareness of Federal Government resources, including funding opportunities (e.g., Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Research programs), user facilities, and other resources, in support of core Administration goals. Development and dissemination of relevant materials will facilitate nanotechnology-based commercialization and economic development efforts as well as provide cognizance of the Federal regulations that may apply to such efforts. For example, the Emerging Technologies Interagency Policy Coordination Committee has released two memoranda to the heads of executive departments and agencies—one on emerging technologies generally and one on nanotechnology specifically—that outline broad principles for regulation and oversight of these technology areas. Individual agencies have also issued guidance and rulings as needed and appropriate. Small- and medium-sized businesses are of particular interest for outreach efforts because they may not have the capabilities necessary to easily identify such potentially useful Federal resources and interpret applicable regulations. The primary focus of this objective is to provide the business community and potential entrepreneurs with useful and reliable information in an easy-to-navigate forum for the purpose of increasing awareness of, interest in, and collaboration with federally funded programs designed to support nanotechnology.

2.2. Increase focus on nanotechnology-based commercialization and related support for public–private partnerships.

2.2.1. Sustain successful initiatives and expand the number of public–private partnerships.

2.2.2. Evaluate and disseminate information on best practices to advance commercialization of U.S.-derived nanotechnologies.

2.2.3. Support U.S. industry in the development of technology “roadmaps” or R&D plans in support of public–private partnerships.

2.2.4. Promote development of robust, scalable nanomanufacturing methods with sufficient precision to facilitate commercialization.

The Nanoscale Science, Engineering, and Technology (NSET) Subcommittee and participating agencies appreciate the importance of collaboration between Federal agencies, academia, and industry, as well as regional, state, and local organizations in facilitating the commercialization of federally funded nanotechnology R&D. Over the years, NNI agencies have interacted with key industry sectors to better understand their technology needs and to develop public–private partnerships and other collaborative mechanisms to address these needs. The NSET Subcommittee has engaged regional, state, and local organizations to explore opportunities to collaborate to promote business development and remove the barriers to commercialization of nanotechnology-enabled products (NEPs). The NNI will continue these interactions through activities such as workshops, webinars, and other events that provide forums for communication and collaboration, and through outreach activities under the Nanomanufacturing, Industry Liaison, and Innovation Working Group. The NSET Subcommittee and participating agencies will also explore the benchmarking of best practices from the commercialization of other advanced technologies to identify innovative approaches that can be applied to facilitate technology transfer and commercialization of NEPs and to share these practices with NNI stakeholders.

Through mechanisms including the Nanotechnology Signature Initiatives (NSIs), NNI agencies have collaborated with each other, industry, economic development organizations, universities, and community colleges to tackle the technical barriers to commercialization of NEPs. In their joint memo on R&D priorities for the fiscal year 2015 Federal Budget, the directors of the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Science and Technology Policy stressed the importance of nanotechnology R&D, particularly that being conducted under the NSIs, to the Administration’s advanced manufacturing agenda. NNI agencies will explore ways to strengthen and expand NSI collaborations to advance the state of the art in advanced manufacturing and to facilitate commercialization of advanced technologies.

2.3. Promote broader accessibility and utilization of user facilities, cooperative research centers, and regional initiatives to accelerate the transfer of nanoscale science from lab to market.

2.3.1. Provide economical access to tools and processes, expertise, and training critical to the transition from discovery to advanced prototype development.

2.3.2. Support the establishment of self-sustaining cooperative research centers and regional, state, and local economic development initiatives for nanotechnology commercialization.

NNI agencies have made considerable investments in the development of unique national facilities to support nanotechnology R&D (Goal 3). These investments provide for the development of new capabilities and help to maintain the existing infrastructure needed to support both basic research in nanotechnology and commercialization activities. NNI agencies will continue to support these facilities and provide economical access for industry and university researchers to support both commercialization and research. Further efforts to promote nanotechnology commercialization will be supported through continued efforts to foster government–university–industry consortia and economic development initiatives at the regional, state, and local levels.

2.4. Actively engage in international activities integral to the development and responsible commercialization of nanotechnology-enabled products and processes.

2.4.1. Participate and, where appropriate, lead in the development of international standards for nanotechnology.

2.4.2. Engage in bilateral and multilateral collaborations and cooperative activities to further nanotechnology-related commercialization, innovation, and trade.

2.4.3. Support forums in which U.S. and international stakeholders can exchange technical information and discuss respective market needs, intellectual property rights, and other issues relevant to enabling commercialization.

Significant public and private investments in nanotechnology R&D worldwide have led to the commercialization of an ever-expanding array of NEPs across a variety of industry sectors. At the international level, vibrant and dynamic exchange of information is accompanying the rapid pace of global innovation in nanotechnology and the associated knowledge gains. With supply chains distributed across multiple countries, NNI agencies will continue to engage early and often in international forums that support responsible commercialization and best practices. These include organizations that develop international standards, government-to-government collaborations, and other activities that bring together stakeholders from the United States and around the world.

Many NNI agencies are already active and lead important international activities. Agencies will continue to maintain and strengthen this strategic engagement while balancing budget constraints and mission objectives. NNI agencies will also explore means for leveraging public–private partnerships to maximize the impact of their participation and strengthen ties with the U.S. private sector. NNI agencies’ engagements span a wide range of issues, including the development of international standards, exchange of scientific and technical information, and identification of market trends. By participating in a variety of forums and partnerships, NNI agencies will proactively address nanotechnology-related intellectual property rights as well as environmental, health, and safety; consumer; and societal issues—all of which enable innovation, commercialization, trade, and U.S. leadership in strategic and transformative technologies.