Strategy for Nanotechnology-Related Environmental, Health, and Safety Research (2008)

Subject Area:
NNI Strategic Documents
EHS-related Documents
Author: Subcommittee on Nanoscale Science, Engineering, and Technology, Committee on Technology, National Science and Technology Council
Publication Date: Feb. 13 2008

Description:

Outlines the NNI strategy for nanotechnology-related environmental, health and safety (EHS) research.  Includes an analysis of EHS research needs outlined in the previously published NNI document, Environmental, Health, and Safety Research Needs for Engineered Nanoscale Materials (September 2006) and a summary of the then-current NNI EHS research portfolio across five primary research categories: (1) Instrumentation, Metrology, and Analytical Methods; (2) Nanomaterials and Human Health; (3) Nanomaterials and the Environment; (4) Human and Environmental Exposure Assessment; and (5) Risk Management Methods.  Also includes an analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, and gaps in the then-current NNI research portfolio, a recommended framework for addressing the identified research needs, and a recommended implementation and adaptive management process.  Tables showing research projects funded in 2006 by NNI agencies in each of the five EHS research categories are included as an appendix.


Nanotechnology Fact

Exciting new nanotechnology-based medicines are now in clinical trials, which may be available soon to treat patients. Some use nanoparticles to deliver toxic anti-cancer drugs targeted directly to tumors, minimizing drug damage to other parts of the body. Others help medical imaging tools, like MRIs and CAT scans, work better and more safely. Nanotechnology is helping scientists make our homes, cars, and businesses more energy-efficient through new fuel cells, batteries, and solar panels. It is also helping to find ways to purify drinking water and to detect and clean up environmental waste and damage.

Nanomaterials are being tested for use in food packaging to greatly improve shelf life and safety. Nanosensors to detect food-borne pathogens are also being developed for food packaging. New nanomaterials will be stronger, lighter, and more durable than the materials we use today in buildings, bridges, automobiles, and more. Scientists have experimented with nanomaterials that bend light in unique ways that may enable the development of an “invisibility cloak.” The possibilities seem limitless, and the future of nanotechnology holds great potential. For more information, see Benefits and Applications.

Stay Connected with the NNI

Sign up for Email Alerts and Updates.

Visit the NNI Budget Dashboard

pie chart with dollar sign

The NNI Dashboard shows annual spending for the agencies participating in the NNI. This cross-cut budget information can be sorted by agency and by Program Component Area to better identify funding trends.