The Department of State (DOS) participates in the NNI in order to identify and promote multilateral and bilateral scientific activities that support U.S. foreign policy objectives, protect national security interests, advance economic interests, and foster environmental protection. International scientific collaboration enhances existing U.S. research, development, and innovation programs, and furthers the potential of nanotechnology to address global challenges relating to water, health, and energy.
DOS assists NNI member agencies to establish partnerships with counterpart institutions abroad by holding regular joint committee meetings with representatives from over forty countries. These meetings are governed by binding science and technology agreements that facilitate exchange of scientific results, provide for protection and allocation of intellectual property rights and benefit sharing, facilitate access for researchers, address taxation issues, and respond to the complex set of issues associated with economic development, domestic security, and regional stability.
More broadly, DOS coordinates U.S. Federal Government interactions with foreign governments and multilateral institutions to foster an international marketplace for nanotechnology products and ideas, and to establish a framework for the safe, secure, and responsible use of nanotechnology. DOS leads or participates on nanotechnology efforts within the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), UNEP’s Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM), and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).