Fall 2017 Newsletter

December 20, 2017


What’s Big in Small Science?

Brought to you by the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office (NNCO)


Highlight from the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI)

The NNI Supplement to the President’s FY18 Budget released.

Top Stories from the NNI

NSF Announces Center Awards
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has issued eight new Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) awards and four new Engineering Research Center (ERC) awards. Three of the MRSECs are nanotechnology-focused centers: the Center for Dynamics and Control of Materials; the Center for Multifunctional Materials; and the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center. Three of the ERCs include nanotechnology themes: the NSF Engineering Research Center for Cell Manufacturing Technologies (CMaT); the NSF Nanosystems Engineering Research Center for Cellular Metamaterials (CELL-MET); and the NSF Engineering Research Center for Precise Advanced Technologies and Health Systems for Underserved Populations (PATHS-UP).
National Nanotechnology Day
Many participants joined in National Nanotechnology Day celebrations around the country and the globe. Students, university mascots and others ran the 100 Billion Nanometer Dash. Technical and professional societies dedicated websites, hosted webinars, and even sponsored an “Ask Me Anything” session on Reddit. Many of the National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure (NNCI) sites hosted events including the “One Billion Nanometer Challenge” and festivals with nano-inspired games for kids. University student groups held academic lab and industry tours and the Women in Chemical Engineering at the University of Washington held the “Introduce a Girl to Nano” event with over 250 girls in attendance. There were also image and video contests, and the NNCO launched our podcast series featuring “Stories from the NNI.”
FDA Releases Draft Guidance for Public Comment
The Food and Drug Administration released draft guidance for industry on “Drug Products, Including Biological Products, that Contain Nanomaterials.” Comments on the draft guidance are requested by March 19, 2018, for full FDA consideration. For more information, please see the related Federal Register Notice.
Funding Opportunity Announcement
Several NNI agencies have recently released FOAs. Please see nano.gov/grants for more information.

Upcoming Events

January 23-24: Workshop on 2D Quantum Metamaterials at NIST, Gaithersburg, MD
April 7-8: USA Science & Engineering Festival, Washington, D.C.
NOTE: MATDAT18 participation is by invitation only, but applications describing materials science research problems that are “both scientifically important and amenable to a data science solution” will be accepted through January 19. The goal of this hackathon is to spark new collaborations in which problems in materials science are addressed by leading methods in data science. It is expected that as a result of this workshop, the most successful teams will pursue additional funding and resources to build upon their successful collaboration.



Fall 2017 Issue

NNCO Director, Lisa E. Friedersdorf, PhD

Director's Corner

It has been a very busy fall for the NNCO. We recently released the NNI Supplement to the President’s FY18 Budget, hosted a workshop, celebrated National Nanotechnology Day, and launched our podcast series featuring “Stories from the NNI.” Since nanotechnology impacts a wide variety of sectors including medicine, electronics, infrastructure, sporting goods, energy, water and the environment, transportation, and homeland security, there are a lot of great stories to tell! I’d also like to note that nanotechnology was identified as an emerging technology critical to economic growth and security in the National Security Strategy released this week.
As an engineer, I love to see the transition of new knowledge to useful applications. And this fall, I had several opportunities to see how nanotechnology is making it into the marketplace and creating new jobs. The Technology Development Pathways: Case Studies from the NNI workshop, (in support of the NNI Sustainable Nanomanufacturing Signature Initiative) showcased the paths three companies took to transition their technology. The workshop also focused on remaining nanomanufacturing challenges that require additional research, with an emphasis on scale up and quality control. In support of the NNI Sensors Signature Initiative, I attended the Biological + Chemical Sensors Summit 2017 and heard from many companies that are using nanotechnology in their advanced sensors or in flexible power applications. I was particularly struck by a plea by a neonatal doctor for accurate, noninvasive sensors for measurement of things as varied as temperature, oxygen, heart rate, and blood chemistry.  One of the challenges he identified was an adhesive that won’t harm babies’ skin. Perhaps nanotechnology will help provide a solution to this critical sensors need.
One of the roles of the NNCO is to promote the exchange of nanotechnology information. We do this in many ways, including continuously updating Nano.gov (including the recent updates to funding programs for fostering the commercialization of nanotechnologies) and facilitating conversations through networks and communities of interest. You are welcome to join the conversation in areas such nanoEHS, nanomedicine, nanomanufacturing, or participate in networks with other undergraduate students, K-12 teachers, or those interested in or supporting nanotechnology focused entrepreneurship. Please see Nano.gov to learn more!
Over the coming months, we will continue to roll out episodes of the podcast series. Do you have a great story from the NNI? Let us know. And as we move into the holiday season, I’d like to wish you and yours a safe and wonderful holiday and very happy New Year!