The National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) is a U.S. Government research and development (R&D) initiative. Over thirty Federal departments, independent agencies, and commissions work together toward the shared vision of a future in which the ability to understand and control matter at the nanoscale leads to ongoing revolutions in technology and industry that benefit society. The NNI enhances interagency coordination of nanotechnology R&D, supports a shared infrastructure, enables leveraging of resources while avoiding duplication, and establishes shared goals, priorities, and strategies that complement agency-specific missions and activities.
The NNI participating agencies work together to advance discovery and innovation across the nanotechnology R&D enterprise. The NNI portfolio encompasses efforts along the entire technology development pathway, from early-stage fundamental science through applications-driven activities. Nanoscience and nanotechnology are prevalent across the R&D landscape, with an ever-growing list of applications that includes nanomedicine, nanoelectronics, water treatment, precision agriculture, transportation, and energy generation and storage. The NNI brings together representatives from multiple agencies to leverage knowledge and resources and to collaborate with academia and the private sector, as appropriate, to promote technology transfer and facilitate commercialization. The breadth of NNI-supported infrastructure enables not only the nanotechnology community but also researchers from related disciplines.
In addition to R&D efforts, the NNI is helping to build the nanotechnology workforce of the future, with focused efforts from K–12 through postgraduate research training. The responsible development of nanotechnology has been an integral pillar of the NNI since its inception, and the initiative proactively considers potential implications and technology applications at the same time. Collectively, these activities ensure that the United States remains not only the place where nanoscience discoveries are made, but also where these discoveries are translated and manufactured into products to benefit society.