- Nanotechnology 101
- Nanotechnology and You
- About the NNI
- What is the NNI?
- The NSET Subcommittee
- NSET's Participating Federal Partners
- Working Groups
- National Nanotechnology Coordination Office (NNCO)
- Contact Information
- Collaborations and Funding
- Nanotechnology Signature Initiatives
- FAQs for Business
- Federal Funding & Infrastructure
- Business Development
- Publications and Resources
The Nanoscale Science, Engineering, and Technology (NSET) Subcommittee created four Working Groups to improve the effectiveness and productivity of the Subcommittee and its member agencies in areas that will benefit from focused interagency attention and activity.
Global issues are interwoven among each of the NNI’s four goals. Member agencies routinely engage with their international partners on a wide breadth of topics, from joint research programs to standards development to worker safety. The NSET Subcommittee’s GIN Working Group strives to coordinate and focus these activities in a manner consistent with the NNI vision and U.S. policy. GIN supports each of the four NNI goals by strengthening international R&D collaboration, capacity building, and engagement on regulatory and trade issues, all of which are essential to the development of a vibrant and safe global marketplace for nanomaterials and nanotechnology-enabled products. The working group also serves as the coordinating body for Federal Government activities in the OECD’s Working Party on Nanotechnology (WPN), a leading intergovernmental forum that advises upon emerging policy issues of science, technology, and innovation related to the responsible development of nanotechnology.
Nanotechnology has the potential to significantly transform society in many key areas including new materials, processes, and products. In order to fully realize the promise of nanotechnology, Federal agencies support research to understand the environmental, health, and safety (EHS) implications of nanotechnology and provide guidance on the safety of nanomaterials across the product life cycle. The NSET Subcommittee’s NEHI Working Group provides a forum for focused interagency collaborations on EHS and leadership in establishing the national nanotechnology EHS research agenda, in addition to communicating EHS information between NNI agencies and to the public. The combined efforts of the nanotechnology R&D community, public health advocacy groups, and the public are required to fully address EHS research priorities and strengthen the scientific foundation of risk assessment and risk management of nanotechnology. NEHI provides the nexus, as appropriate, for interactions between agencies and these diverse communities. The sum of these interactions and activities enhances the value of NNI efforts and provides a collaborative approach to examining public health and environmental concerns about nanomaterials. NEHI member agencies include those with direct responsibilities for public, workplace, and environmental safety, and agencies involved in science, education, and policy.
A sustained commitment to nanotechnology-based innovation, made possible by dialogue and partnerships among all the players in the innovation ecosystem, is key to realizing the NNI vision. The NSET Subcommittee’s NILI Working Group coordinates many activities in this area. NILI promotes and facilitates exchange of information among Federal agencies, academia, industry, and state, regional, and local organizations to build U.S. leadership in nanotechnology-based products and manufacturing processes through activities such as developing a database of nanotechnology-related technology transfer and nanomanufacturing programs across agencies; periodically organizing workshops that bring together regional, state, and local stakeholders; and supporting the NNI nanotechnology signature initiative on sustainable nanomanufacturing. In particular, NILI seeks to help the NNI agencies organize coherent support structures and effective technology transfer practices, making good use of the expertise of industry-initiated liaison groups. These liaison groups are a conduit for partnerships between the NNI and industry sectors and generally represent particular industries (e.g., electronics, chemicals, and forest products). A significant component of supporting the innovation process is fostering development of standard nanotechnology reference materials, terminology, and measurement and characterization methods. As with the other NSET Subcommittee working groups, communication and engagement activities are a significant focus of NILI.
Although public engagement and communication activities are critical to each NSET Working Group achieving its primary goals in support of the NNI vision, there remains a need for focused efforts to understand and promote best practices in public engagement and communication activities related to nanotechnology. The NSET Subcommittee’s NPEC working group provides this focus. NPEC promotes and coordinates the efforts of NNI member agencies to educate and involve the public, policymakers, and stakeholder groups in discussions about nanotechnology, its applications and implications, the work of the NNI, and related topics of special interest. NPEC also assists in the development of research-based guidance for outreach and engagement among governmental and nongovernmental organizations, the public, and other stakeholders regarding the responsible development of nanotechnology.