Education and workforce development are critical to the advancement of nanotechnology and are encompassed within one of the four goals of the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI): “Develop and sustain educational resources, a skilled workforce, and a dynamic infrastructure and toolset to advance nanotechnology.” As new knowledge is created through exploratory research and development, it is a challenge to translate this understanding into the educational system and to the broader public. Over the past fifteen years of the NNI, there have been several activities that have made significant contributions in this area: public outreach and informal education by the NSF Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network (NISE Net) through programs such as NanoDays; technician and workforce training through programs such as the NSF Advanced Technological Education Centers including the Nanotechnology Applications and Career Knowledge (NACK) Network; countless university courses and degree programs; and the emerging incorporation of nanoscience into the K-12 science education standards in states such as Virginia. To build upon this strong foundation, a Nano and Emerging Technologies Student Leaders conference, a webinar series focused on providing information for teachers, and a web portal of nanoscale science and engineering educational resources have been established.
In its role to support the NNI, the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office would like to hear from you on these topics. Does your university have (or would you like to have) a nano or emerging technologies club, and would you like to join the conversation regarding a national network of student groups? Have you developed specific resources to help you teach nanoscale concepts in your classroom? Are you offering research opportunities in your introductory-level undergraduate courses? Share your thoughts, comments, stories, and experiences with us at email@example.com.