Saturday, July 22, 2006

Memo on FY 2008 budget: High priority for nano research "on societal implications, human health, and environmental issues



Nanotechnology is among six interagency R&D priorities outlined in a memo by OSTP Director John Marburger and OMB Director Rob Portman on science spending in the FY 2008 budget. These six areas, the memo states, “should receive special focus in agency budget requests." They are Homeland Security, Energy Security, Advanced Networking and High-End Computing, National Nanotechnology Initiative, Understanding Complex Biological Systems, and Environment.

The memo also predicts at least 7 percent increases in funding for the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy's Office of Science, and the Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology:
"Presidential Priority: The American Competitiveness Initiative "To build on America's unparalleled economic success and to remain a leader in science and technology, President Bush has proposed the American Competitiveness Initiative. The centerpiece of the American Competitiveness Initiative is the President's strong commitment to double investment over ten years in key Federal agencies that support basic research in the physical sciences and engineering that has potentially high impact on economic competitiveness. President Bush plans to double investment by the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy's Office of Science, and the Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology core activities. To achieve this doubling within ten years, overall annual increases for these three agencies will average roughly seven percent. Specific allocations will be based on research priorities and opportunities. In addition to the doubling effort at these three agencies, similarly high-impact basic and applied research of the Department of Defense should be a significant priority."

The goal for the National Nanotech Initiative is to
“support both basic and applied research in nanoscience, develop instrumentation and methods for nanoscale characterization and metrology, and disseminate new technical capabilities, including those to help industry advance nanofabrication and nanomanufacturing. Because research at the nanoscale offers natural bridges to interdisciplinary collaboration, especially at the intersection of the life and physical sciences, the Administration encourages novel approaches to accelerating interdisciplinary and interagency collaborations. Activities such as joint programs utilizing shared resources or leveraging complementary assets, as well as support for interdisciplinary activities at centers and user facilities should receive higher relative priority.

The last paragraph of this section is especially interesting:
To ensure that nanoscience research leads to the responsible development of beneficial applications, high priority should be given to research on societal implications, human health, and environmental issues related to nanotechnology and agencies should develop, where applicable, cross-agency approaches to the funding and execution of this research."


(Click here for a PDF version of the memo.)

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