- 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
- Federal Funding & Infrastructure
- Business Development
- Publications and Resources
Goal Two Objectives
Goal 2: Foster the transfer of new technologies into products for commercial and public benefit.
As detailed in the NNI's Stragegic Plan, the objectives for this goal are as follows:
2.1 Develop robust, scalable nanomanufacturing methods necessary to facilitate commercialization by doubling the share of the NNI investment in nanomanufacturing research over the next five years.
- Nanomanufacturing R&D involves a fundamental understanding of the manufacturing process, including the development and application of measurement and characterization techniques, reference materials, and standards. The 2010 review of the NNI by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) recommended a greater emphasis on commercialization by doubling the investment of the Federal Government in nanomanufacturing. In addition, the PCAST report recommended the initiation of interagency partnerships, i.e., signature initiatives, within the next 3 years. Along these lines, a nanotechnology signature initiative in sustainable nanomanufacturing is planned for initiation in FY 2011.
2.2 Increase focus on nanotechnology-based commercialization and related support for public-private partnerships, by:
- 2.2.1. Launching at least five public-private partnerships over the next five years.
- 2.2.2. Leveraging the NNI nanotechnology signature initiatives (see Goal 1 objectives) to remove barriers to commercialization of nanotechnology innovations, particularly in areas of high national need.
- 2.2.3. Working with U.S. industry across sectors to develop technology “roadmaps” or long-term R&D plans, as appropriate, in support of new public-private partnerships and signature initiatives.
- Many nanotechnology products are moving into commercialization phases, and some NNI member agencies are increasingly collaborating with diverse industry sectors as products are brought to market. The NNI fosters responsible technology transfer through the NSET Subcommittee and its member agencies engaging with key industry sectors and collecting and exchanging information and ideas regarding each sector’s technology needs. It also provides a bridge between companies and Federally funded nanotechnology research, strengthening Goal 1 outcomes. This collaborative work could be a market driver, potentially enhancing the U.S. economy and job creation. Such cooperative efforts will be strengthened by supporting public-private partnerships and by an ongoing effort to work with industry as the technology matures. This effort can also help mission-oriented agencies’ efforts to expand their applied research and commercialization programs. In the future, the NSET Subcommittee will explore the feasibility of additional mechanisms such as innovation clusters, matching funds, and other collaborative efforts to facilitate the commercialization of emerging technologies.
2.3 Establish and/or sustain national user facilities, cooperative research centers, and regional initiatives with the goal of accelerating the transfer of nanoscale science from discovery to commercial products, by:
- 2.3.1. Providing economical access by academia and industry, on both precompetitive and proprietary bases, to state-of-the-art tools and processes, expertise, and training that are critical to the transition from discovery to advanced prototype, with options for remote use when feasible.
- 2.3.2. Supporting the establishment over the next five years of at least three self-sustaining cooperative research centers and/or state and regional economic development initiatives for nanotechnology.
- Over the past decade, NNI member agencies have made considerable investments in the development of unique national facilities to support nanotechnology R&D. These investments maintain the existing infrastructures as well as capabilities needed to support both basic research in nanotechnology and commercialization efforts. Further efforts to promote nanotechnology commercialization can be supported through continuing the development of government-university-industry consortia and economic development initiatives at the state or regional level. The NNI will continue to coordinate with regional, state, and local nanotechnology initiatives through activities such as NNI workshops, webinars, and other events that provide a forum for communication and collaboration in this community.
2.4 Assist the nanotechnology-based business community, including small- and medium-sized enterprises, in understanding the Federal Government’s R&D funding and regulatory environment, by:
- 2.4.1. Developing and disseminating informational materials documenting funding opportunities (e.g., in the SBIR and STTR programs), state-of-the-art nanotechnology user facilities that are available to industry, and other resources available from the Federal Government.
- 2.4.2. Providing informational materials, including points of contact, to explain issues such as environmental, health, and safety regulations and export controls pertinent to nanotechnology-related products and businesses.
- NSET member agencies recognize the need to make the business community aware of Federal Government resources that are available for helping foster nanotechnology-based commercialization and economic development efforts, and of the Federal regulations that may apply to these efforts. Small and medium-sized businesses in particular may not have dedicated staff with specialized expertise related to Federal resources and regulations.
2.5 Increase international engagement to facilitate the responsible and sustainable commercialization, technology transfer, innovation, and trade related to nanotechnology-enabled products and processes, by:
- 2.5.1. Increasing the participation of NNI member agencies, when appropriate, in fora addressing global legal, intellectual property, and regulatory issues related to nanotechnology-enabled product development.
- 2.5.2. Enhancing interagency communication and collaboration towards assuring safe nanotechnology-enabled products for domestic and international consumers, through activities such as developing documentary standards.
- The successful commercialization of nanotechnology products in domestic and global markets is dependent on adequately addressing issues such as intellectual property (IP), return on investment, and environmental, health, and safety regulations and concerns. NNI member agencies’ continued involvement in activities related to these issues is needed to not only ensure a safe environment but also to maintain a level playing field for all involved. For example, ongoing interagency support of development of U.S. and international documentary standards will facilitate such innovation and product development. Successful commercialization also involves the purposeful integration of the aims of each of the other goals in areas such as safeguarding research and IP investment (Goal 1), maintaining a highly skilled workforce (Goal 3), and ensuring responsible and sustainable development, including environmental benefits (Goal 4).