nanoEHS Workshop Series Reports

Subject Area:
NNI Workshop Reports
Author: Nanoscale Science, Engineering, and Technology (NSET) Subcommittee
Publication Date: Mar. 30 2010

Description:

These four reports are the result of a series of workshops focusing on various issues in the nanotechnology environmental, health, and safety (EHS) arena. The "nanoEHS" workshop series was a part of an ongoing strategy to coordinate nanotechnology-related EHS research by convening experts from industry, academia, and the Federal Government to share the latest information and newest developments, to discuss the current state-of-the-science, and to identify research gaps in the nanotechnology-related EHS field.

The nanoEHS workshops, along with advice from the National Academies and the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), culminated in the development of an updated EHS Research Strategy for the NNI, which will guide the responsible development of nanotechnology.

The Obama Administration is committed to supporting significant research into the potential EHS impacts of nanotechnology. Nanotechnology is an exciting field of research that has great scientific and economic potential because of its ability to create new materials with novel properties for application in such diverse fields as electronics and computing, alternative energy, and medicine.

The U.S. is a global leader in nanotechnology-related EHS R&D. Federal research dedicated to nanotechnology-related EHS grew substantially from $34.8 million in FY 2005 to a requested $123.5 million for FY 2012, totaling $575 million cumulatively.


Nanotechnology Fact

Although federally-funded R&D yields hard-to-quantify benefits such as students educated, degrees conferred, companies started, patents and copyrights granted, developmental partnerships formed, and private sector investment inflows, there are many indicators of the impact of this ­­­­­investment.

For example, there are over 1,900 U.S.-based companies conducting R&D, manufacturing, or product sales in nanotechnology in 2016. Of these companies engaged in the nanotechnology sector, over 36% have participated in the Small Business Innovation Research or Small Business Technology Transfer programs funded by the Federal agencies that participate in the National Nanotechnology Initiative. The most recent Business R&D and Innovation Survey (BRDIS) conducted by the National Science Foundation (NSF) found approximately 1,500 companies engaged in nanotechnology with approximately 1,100 of these classified as small businesses (less than 500 employees). The difference in the number of companies cited above can be attributed to the year the data was collected and other methodologies.

A noteworthy impact of the NNI has been the focused investment by NNI-participating agencies in the establishment and development of multidisciplinary research and education centers devoted to nanoscience and nanotechnology. NNI agencies have developed an extensive infrastructure of nearly 100 major interdisciplinary research and education centers and user facilities across the United States. This cutting-edge fabrication and characterization equipment provides state-of-the-art nanoscience tools and expertise for research by non-profit or business organizations, whether small or large, for use-inspired research and some of the user facilities are available free-of-charge for non-proprietary work if the user intends to publish the research results in the scientific literature.

In December 2015, Lux Research estimated that nanotechnology-enabled products generated $1.6 trillion in global revenues in 2014; and that figure is anticipated to increase to $3.5 trillion in 2018.

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