The National Nanotechnology Initiative: Present at the Creation
Issues in Science and Technology
Vol. 21, Num. 4
"The US, which has made a major early commitment to nanotechnology in 2000, has been the world's research leader, but as the promise of nanotechnology has grown the government commitment flattened," say Lane and Kalil. A short history of federal nanotechnology funding is given. Starting in 1996 federal program officers at the NSF met to share research findings with each other. NNI was added to the President's 2000 budget. The NNI funded research in five general areas: fundamental research, grand challenges, centers and networks, research infrastructures, and societal implications and workforce education and training. In the five years that followed, funding reached 1 billion and 11 agencies distributed that funding. A short list of accomplishments is also offered. Because the 2006 budget did not continue to increase funding for nanotechnology, the authors fear that the US will lose its early lead, especially in computing, biotechnology and clean energy initiatives. They argue that the government must boost funding in specified areas and do risk research to maintain the nation's leadership.