FY 2011 Budget Brief 2/24/2010

The 2011 Budget proposes $1.7 billion for the multi-agency National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI), down $7 million from the 2010 enacted level with large increases for DOE and HHS contributions offset by the proposed elimination of 2010 Department of Defense congressional projects in 2011.

This sustained investment in nanotechnology research and development across the Federal Government over the past 11 years reflects broad support for the program. It has been supported over three presidential administrations and five congresses.  NNI programs also received $486 million in Recovery Act funding. The NNI focuses on R&D that creates materials, devices, and systems that exploit the fundamentally distinct properties of matter as it is manipulated at the nanoscale (roughly 1 to 100 nanometers).

This support is based on nanotechnology’s potential to vastly improve our fundamental understanding and control of matter, ultimately leading to a revolution in technology and industry for the benefit of society. The results of NNI-supported R&D enable breakthroughs in biomedical diagnosis and treatment, manufacturing at or near the nanoscale, environmental monitoring and protection, energy conversion, usage and storage, and novel more powerful electronic devices, among many others.

Guided by the NNI Strategic Plan, participating agencies will continue to support nanoscience and nanotechnology development through investigator-led research; multidisciplinary centers of excellence; education and training; and infrastructure and standards development, including user facilities and networks that are broadly available to support research and innovation.

While overall NNI funding has steadily increased over the years, the fastest growing program component areas in recent years have been for Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) and Nanomanufacturing.EHS funding will rise to $117 million in the 2011 Budget, 22 percent more than the enacted 2010 level. As a part of this expanded EHS effort, the Food and Drug Administration ($15 million) and the Consumer Product Safety Commission ($2.2 million) are participating in the formal NNI budget crosscut for the first time in 2011.

Nanomanufacturing has more than doubled from $34 million in 2006 to $118 million in the 2011 request.

This is consistent with the NNI’s commitment to the goal of supporting responsible development of nanotechnology, and with broad recognition of the importance of both EHS and manufacturing research to realizing the true potential benefits of nanotechnology.