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NSI: Nanotechnology Knowledge Infrastructure (NKI)-- Enabling National Leadership in Sustainable Design
Nanotechnology solves global challenges by generating and applying new multidisciplinary knowledge of nanoscale phenomena and engineered nanoscale materials, structures, and products. The data underlying this new knowledge are vast, disconnected, and challenging to integrate into the broad scientific body of knowledge. This signature initiative, Nanotechnology Knowledge Infrastructure: Enabling National Leadership in Sustainable Design, will leverage and extend existing and emerging resources, programs, and technologies to create an infrastructure to accelerate the vetting of new knowledge and to enable effective data utilization.
Four areas that will benefit from focused attention were identified:1) A diverse collaborative community of scientists, engineers, and technical staff to support research, development, and applications of nanotechnology to meet national challenges; 2) An agile modeling network for multidisciplinary intellectual collaboration that effectively couples experimental basic research, modeling, and applications development; 3) A sustainable cyber-toolbox to enable effective application of models and knowledge to nanomaterials design; and 4) A robust digital nanotechnology data and information infrastructure to support effective data sharing, collaboration, and innovation across disciplines and applications.
Overall, this signature initiative will coordinate the nanoscale science, engineering, and technology communities around the fundamental, interconnected elements of collaborative modeling, a cyber-toolbox, and data infrastructure that will capitalize on American strengths in innovation, shorten the time from research to new product development, and maintain U.S. leadership in sustainable design of engineered nanoscale materials.
Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)
CPSC staff will provide support for risk-modeling approaches and expertise in data collection and interpretation of data assessing potential effects from exposure to nanomaterials.
Department of Defense (DoD)
DOD scientists across many laboratories and fields are actively engaged in research to investigate the novel properties, potential uses, human-health and environmental effects, and other interesting and important aspects of nanomaterials. These investigations include laboratory work to generate data; development and application of modeling tools to fill gaps in that data; and development of databases, publications, and software platforms to use and share these results with the broader scientific population.
Department of Energy (DOE)
This Signature Initiative will build on DOE’s investments in the Computational Materials and Chemical Sciences Network (CMCSN) and Scientific Discovery through Advanced Computing (SciDAC) programs. Progress in many research areas relevant to energy technologies is limited by currently available materials and chemical processes and has the potential to be fundamentally altered by predictive theory and modeling capabilities across multiple length and time scales, including the nanoscale. DOE will support this initiative by leveraging a broad research community that already exists in academia, industry, and at the DOE National Labs, particularly at the five Nanoscale Science Research Centers.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
EPA’s efforts will include experimental testing and characterization data for reference and other nanomaterials, standardized relational databases that will support sharing of results, and models linking properties and bioactivity of nanomaterials that will be developed and shared.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Coordinated databases, portals, and resources containing data on nanomaterials will provide FDA an opportunity to share its published findings on characterization of nanotechnology-based products and models for safety and efficacy assessment as well as to study the behavior of nanomaterials in biological systems and their effects on human health.
National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA)
NASA is supporting R&D efforts, both in-house and with industry and academia, to develop, mature, and demonstrate high-impact nanotechnologies for use in future planetary exploration and earth and space science missions, and in the development of next-generation, environmentally responsible aircraft. These efforts include a combination of experimental activities and data collection, modeling, and simulation to develop new materials and devices for these applications. NASA will support the Nanotechnology Knowledge Infrastructure Signature Initiative through collaborations to develop multiscalemodeling and database tools and provide experimental data to support these activities and validate computational tools.
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
NIH will guide the nanotechnology field with a set of minimal information about nanomaterials (MIAN), ontology, and standards developed through a community effort with broad representation, that will serve as the foundation for sharing the nanomaterial data, building the modeling infrastructure, validating models against experimental data, and developing modeling tools.
NIH will also contribute to building databases and registriesto store and indexinformation on nanomaterials and protocols needed for their characterization, defining standards for nanomedicinedata sharing and exchange, and providing vocabulary and semantic support to the nanotechnology community.
NIH will also support the development of experimentally-validated multiscalemodels that allow predictions across scales of space, biological organization, and time as well as data and predictive models on the toxicological implications of exposure to engineered nanomaterials.
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
NIOSH’s contribution will include theNanoparticle Information Library, nanoinformatics tools, and real-life data on current and emerging nanotechnology practice in the workplace; data on workplace exposures; experimental evidence and modeling of toxic effects from exposures to categories of nanomaterials; knowledge and data on efficacy of controls; recommended exposure limits; and tools and guidance to support sustainable nanotechnology.
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
NIST’s contributions to this signature initiative will leverage its long-standing expertise in metrology and data information science. Activities at NIST in support of this NSI include the Advanced Materials for Industry program, which is focused on the development of reference data standards and data management infrastructures that will enable reliable computer modeling and simulation for materials discovery and optimization. This activity will be coordinated with other agencies’ efforts on software and experimental tool design, including at DOE and NSF.
National Science Foundation (NSF)
This Nanotechnology Signature Initiative will build on NSF’s investments in Cyber-enabled Discovery and Innovation and on efforts within its CyberinfrastructureFramework for the 21stCentury program such as Software Infrastructure for Sustained Innovation. These NSF programs will also contribute to the foundations of the NKI through specific databases for nanoscale materials and processes; transformative thinking about models for linkage of properties and behaviors at different scales; extension of computational and statistical techniques to support development and use of the nanotechnology cyber-toolbox to accelerate nanomaterials discovery and manufacturing; advances in fundamental theory and modeling; software optimized for specific computer architectures that includes documentation, representative run-time parameters and files, and other associated information necessary to duplicate example results; techniques across the scales from first principles to coarse-graining to phase-field modeling; and education to integrate the cyber-toolbox into the fabric of next-generation science and to train the next-generation modeling community.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
OSHA will provide expertise and support in the area of data collection and interpretation of the biological and toxicological effects of exposure to various categories of nanomaterials.
Related Federal Initiatives
The MGI is a multi-agency initiative to create a new era of policy, resources and infrastructure that support U.S. institutions in the effort to discover, manufacture and deploy advanced materials twice as fast, at a fraction of the cost.