The NNI is a U.S. Government research and development (R&D) initiative involving the nanotechnology-related activities of 20 departments and independent agencies. The NNI consists of the individual and cooperative nanotechnology-related activities of Federal agencies with a range of research and regulatory roles and responsibilities.
Funding support for nanotechnology R&D stems directly from NNI member agencies, not the NNI. As an interagency effort, the NNI informs and influences the Federal budget and planning processes through its member agencies and through the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC).
The NNI brings together the expertise needed to advance this broad and complex field—creating a framework for shared goals, priorities, and strategies that helps each participating Federal agency leverage the resources of all participating agencies. With the support of the NNI, nanotechnology R&D is taking place in academic, government, and industry laboratories across the United States.
How it is Organized
The NNI is managed within the framework of the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC), the Cabinet-level council under the Office of Science and Technology Policy at the White House, through which the President coordinates science, space, and technology policies across the Federal Government.
The Nanoscale Science, Engineering, and Technology (NSET) Subcommittee of the NSTC coordinates planning, budgeting, program implementation and review to ensure a balanced and comprehensive initiative. The NSET Subcommittee is composed of representatives from agencies participating in the NNI. In order to focus concentration on specific areas of mutual interest that stand to benefit from increased collaborating. The NSET Subcommittee created a Working Group and three Coordinator positions to address specific areas of interest.
- Nanotechnology Environmental & Health Implications (NEHI) Working Group
- Coordinator for Standards Development
- Coordinator for Environmental, Health, and Safety Research
- Coordinator for Global Issues
How it Started
The beginnings of the NNI can be traced back to September 1998, when the Interagency Working Group on Nanotechnology was formed. The NNI was initially launched by President Bill Clinton. The NNI has grown from an original eight agencies up to 20 participating agencies.
The importance of a coordinated Federal program for nanotechnology R&D was further recognized by Congress, who passed legislation creating the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) that President George W. Bush signed into law, in 2003 (21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act).
Funding for nanotechnology research and development continues to enjoy wide bi-partisan support in Congress. The NNI agencies work together to build "a future in which the ability to understand and control matter at the nanoscale leads to a revolution in technology and industry that benefits society."