NNI Supplement to the President's FY 2001 Budget

Subject Area:
NNI Budget
Publication Date: Feb. 1 2000


“My budget supports a major new National Nanotechnology Initiative, worth $500 million. … the ability to manipulate matter at the atomic and molecular level. Imagine the possibilities: materials with ten times the strength of steel and only a small fraction of the weight -- shrinking all the information housed at the Library of Congress into a device the size of a sugar cube -- detecting cancerous tumors when they are only a few cells in size. Some of our research goals may take 20 or more years to achieve, but that is precisely why there is an important role for the federal government.”

--President William J. Clinton
January 21, 2000
California Institute Of Technology

President Clinton’s FY 2001 budget request includes a $225 million (83%) increase in the federal government’s investment in nanotechnology research and development. The Administration is making this major new initiative, called the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI), a top science and technology priority. The emerging fields of nanoscience and nanoengineering – the ability to precisely move matter - are leading to unprecedented understanding and control over the fundamental building blocks of all physical things. These developments are likely to change the way almost everything – from vaccines to computers to automobile tires to objects not yet imagined – is designed and made.

The initiative, which nearly doubles the investment over FY 2000, strengthens scientific disciplines and creates critical interdisciplinary opportunities. Agencies participating in NNI include the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Defense (DOD), the Department of Energy (DOE), National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Roughly 70% of the new funding proposed under the NNI will go to university-based research, which will help meet the growing demand for workers with nanoscale science and engineering skills. Many of these research goals may take 20 or more years to achieve, but that is precisely why there is an important role for the Federal government.

Nanotechnology Fact

Exciting new nanotechnology-based medicines are now in clinical trials, which may be available soon to treat patients. Some use nanoparticles to deliver toxic anti-cancer drugs targeted directly to tumors, minimizing drug damage to other parts of the body. Others help medical imaging tools, like MRIs and CAT scans, work better and more safely. Nanotechnology is helping scientists make our homes, cars, and businesses more energy-efficient through new fuel cells, batteries, and solar panels. It is also helping to find ways to purify drinking water and to detect and clean up environmental waste and damage.

Nanomaterials are being tested for use in food packaging to greatly improve shelf life and safety. Nanosensors to detect food-borne pathogens are also being developed for food packaging. New nanomaterials will be stronger, lighter, and more durable than the materials we use today in buildings, bridges, automobiles, and more. Scientists have experimented with nanomaterials that bend light in unique ways that may enable the development of an “invisibility cloak.” The possibilities seem limitless, and the future of nanotechnology holds great potential. For more information, see Benefits and Applications.

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