NNI Supplement to the President's FY 2001 Budget

Subject Area:
NNI Budget
Publication Date: Feb. 1 2000


“My budget supports a major new National Nanotechnology Initiative, worth $500 million. … the ability to manipulate matter at the atomic and molecular level. Imagine the possibilities: materials with ten times the strength of steel and only a small fraction of the weight -- shrinking all the information housed at the Library of Congress into a device the size of a sugar cube -- detecting cancerous tumors when they are only a few cells in size. Some of our research goals may take 20 or more years to achieve, but that is precisely why there is an important role for the federal government.”

--President William J. Clinton
January 21, 2000
California Institute Of Technology

President Clinton’s FY 2001 budget request includes a $225 million (83%) increase in the federal government’s investment in nanotechnology research and development. The Administration is making this major new initiative, called the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI), a top science and technology priority. The emerging fields of nanoscience and nanoengineering – the ability to precisely move matter - are leading to unprecedented understanding and control over the fundamental building blocks of all physical things. These developments are likely to change the way almost everything – from vaccines to computers to automobile tires to objects not yet imagined – is designed and made.

The initiative, which nearly doubles the investment over FY 2000, strengthens scientific disciplines and creates critical interdisciplinary opportunities. Agencies participating in NNI include the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Defense (DOD), the Department of Energy (DOE), National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Roughly 70% of the new funding proposed under the NNI will go to university-based research, which will help meet the growing demand for workers with nanoscale science and engineering skills. Many of these research goals may take 20 or more years to achieve, but that is precisely why there is an important role for the Federal government.

Nanotechnology Fact

Nanotechnology is used in many commercial products and processes, for example, nanomaterials are used to manufacture lightweight, strong materials for applications such as boat hulls, sporting equipment, and automotive parts. Nanomaterials are also used in sunscreens and cosmetics.

Nanostructured products are used to produce space-saving insulators which are useful when size and weight is at a premium—for example, when insulating long pipelines in remote places, or trying to reduce heat loss from an old house. Nanostructured catalysts make chemical manufacturing processes more efficient, by saving energy and reducing waste.

In healthcare, nanoceramics are used in some dental implants or to fill holes in diseased bones, because their mechanical and chemical properties can be “tuned” to attract bone cells from the surrounding tissue to make new bone. Some pharmaceutical products have been reformulated with nanosized particles to improve their absorption and make them easier to administer. Opticians apply nanocoatings to eyeglasses to make them easier to keep clean and harder to scratch and nanoenabled coatings are used on fabrics to make clothing stain-resistant and easy to care for.

Almost all high-performance electronic devices manufactured in the past decade use some nanomaterials. Nanotechnology helps build new transistor structures and interconnects for the fastest, most advanced computing chips.

All told, nanotechnologies are estimated to have impacted $251 billion across the global economy in 2009. This is estimated to grow to $2.4 trillion by 2015 (Lux Research, 2010).

For more information, see Benefits and Applications.

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