Strategy for Nanotechnology-Related Environmental, Health, and Safety Research (2008)

Subject Area:
NNI Strategic Documents
EHS-related Documents
Author: Subcommittee on Nanoscale Science, Engineering, and Technology, Committee on Technology, National Science and Technology Council
Publication Date: Feb. 13 2008

Description:

Outlines the NNI strategy for nanotechnology-related environmental, health and safety (EHS) research.  Includes an analysis of EHS research needs outlined in the previously published NNI document, Environmental, Health, and Safety Research Needs for Engineered Nanoscale Materials (September 2006) and a summary of the then-current NNI EHS research portfolio across five primary research categories: (1) Instrumentation, Metrology, and Analytical Methods; (2) Nanomaterials and Human Health; (3) Nanomaterials and the Environment; (4) Human and Environmental Exposure Assessment; and (5) Risk Management Methods.  Also includes an analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, and gaps in the then-current NNI research portfolio, a recommended framework for addressing the identified research needs, and a recommended implementation and adaptive management process.  Tables showing research projects funded in 2006 by NNI agencies in each of the five EHS research categories are included as an appendix.


Nanotechnology Fact

Nanoscale materials have been used for over a thousand years. For example, nanoscale gold was used in stained glass in Medieval Europe and nanotubes were found in blades of swords made in Damascus. However, ten centuries passed before high-powered microscopes were invented, allowing us to see things at the nanoscale and begin working with these materials.

Nanotechnology as we now know it began more than 30 years ago, when tools to image and measure at the nanoscale became available. Around the turn of the century, government research managers in the United States and other countries observed that physicists, biologists, chemists, electrical engineers, optical engineers, and materials scientists were working on interconnected, multidisciplinary issues emerging at the nanoscale. In 2000, the U.S. National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) was created to help these researchers benefit from each other’s insights, accelerate technology development, and foster commercialization across disciplines.

To learn more, see What is Nanotechnology?

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