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2 Observations on the Current Procedures and Criteria for Determining Progress Toward Achievement of National Nanotechnology Initiative Goals The 26 federal agencies that participate in the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) are listed in Table 2.1; the top 15 in the list have NNI-related programs funded through the federal appropriations process. The eight cross-cutting NNI program component areas (PCAs), which are defined in the 2003 authorizing legislation as major subject areas in which related projects and activities are grouped, are listed in Table 2.2, and the relationships between the PCAs and missions, interests, and needs of the participating NNI agencies are shown in Table 2.3. In the 2011 NNI Strategic Plan, each agency articulated how nanotechnology had or will have an effect on its achieving its mission and how this maps into the cross-agency PCAs. Examples are provided here in excerpts from the statements made by the Department of Defense (DOD; Box 2.1), the National Institutes of Health (NIH; Box 2.2), and the Department of Labor/Occupational Safety and Health Administration (DOL/OSHA; Box 2.3). Those statements from three representative NNI participating agencies provide a view of what they regard as success for the NNI. For example, DOD seeks “sensors . . ., communications, and information processing systems needed for qualitative improvements in persistent surveillance,” OSHA seeks to “educate employers on their responsibility to protect workers and educate them on safe practices in handling nanomaterials,” and NIH seeks “new classes of nanotherapeutics and diagnostic biomarkers, tests, and devices.” With respect to collaboration among NNI participating agencies, the 2011 NNI Strategic Plan identified specific subjects for close, targeted interaction, including nanotechnology signature areas, “to foster innovation and accelerate nanotechnology development.” 1 The NNI reports progress toward the four NNI goals annually in the NNI supplement to the president’s budget as required by the Nanotechnology Research and Development Act of 2003 (Public Law 108-153). Issued by the Nanoscale Science, Engineering, and Technology Subcommittee of the National Science and Technology Council’s Committee on Technology, the annual supplement includes budget information by agency and by PCA for the prior year (actual spending), the current year (estimated), and the coming year (planned). The NNI also reports the amount of funding that went to nanotechnology-related Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) awards and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) awards to date. (The amount of SBIR and STTR funding that is invested in nanotechnology is not planned, so only prior-year data are available.) The agencies provide examples of specific activities as evidence of progress toward each of the four NNI goals, including coordinated activities with “other agencies, disciplines, industrial sectors, and nations.” 2 The annual report released in 2011 (accompanying the president’s FY 2012 budget) included for the first time estimated spending in 2011 and planned spending in 2012 for each of three multiagency signature initiatives (Solar Energy Collection and Conversion, Sustainable Nanomanufacturing, and Nanoelectronics for 2020 and Beyond). 1 National Science and Technology Council, National Nanotechnology Initiative Strategic Plan, February 2011, available at http://www.nano.gov/sites/default/files/pub_resource/2011_strategic_plan.pdf. Accessed April 24, 2012. 2 The National Nanotechnology Initiative, Supplement to the President’s 2013 Budget. Available at http://www.nano.gov/sites/default/files/pub_resource/nni_2013_budget_supplement.pdf. Accessed August 8, 2012. 6
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TABLE 2.1 Agencies Participating in the National Nanotechnology Initiative in 2012 Federal Agencies with Budgets Dedicated to Nanotechnology Research and Development Agricultural Research Service (U.S. Department of Agriculture, USDA) Consumer Product Safety Commission Department of Defense Department of Energy Department of Homeland Security Department of Transportation (DOT, including the Federal Highway Administration) Environmental Protection Agency Food and Drug Administration (Department of Health and Human Services [DHHS]) Forest Service (USDA) National Aeronautics and Space Administration National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, DHHS) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Standards and Technology (Department of Commerce [DOC]) National Institutes of Health (DHHS) National Science Foundation Other Participating Agencies Bureau of Industry and Security (DOC) Department of Education Department of Justice Department of Labor (including Occupational Safety and Health Administration) Department of State Department of the Treasury Director of National Intelligence Nuclear Regulatory Commission U.S. Geological Survey (Department of the Interior) U.S. International Trade Commission U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (DOC) SOURCE: National Science and Technology Council, National Nanotechnology Initiative Strategic Plan, February 2011, available at http://www.nano.gov/sites/default/files/pub_resource/2011_strategic_plan.pdf. Accessed April 24, 2012. The data on budget and expenditures reported in the annual NNI supplement to the president’s budget and in reports to Congress provide a picture of how resources are being allocated by agency to each of the PCAs. However, progress toward achieving the four NNI goals is reported in largely anecdotal form. Several agencies provide examples of successful projects, some provide numerical data, and some present short summaries without many details. Interagency activities are reported in the same manner. That approach is consistent with how the NNI agencies manage their overall portfolios, how they gather information to report to the president, and what is included in the NNI supplement to the president’s budget. There is no common method or system across the NNI participating agencies for measuring and tracking progress toward achieving the four NNI goals (see Box 1.1). Broad generalizations about progress are made, but there are few details except for specific examples of successful projects, discoveries, and products related to the agencies’ statements, which are mapped onto the four goals. At the agency level, individual projects are monitored and evaluated with respect to their agreed-on deliverables by using processes and metrics developed by the sponsoring agencies. But such evaluations typically are program-specific, and the deliverables and outcomes are generally reported in forms that cannot be easily aggregated and analyzed. Consider, for example, Goal 1—to advance world-class nanotechnology research and development. The generation of world-class scientific publications, the body of published work associated with an activity, could be considered an indicator of success; metrics 7
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TABLE 2.2 National Nanotechnology Initiative Program Component Areas Program Component Area Description Fundamental Nanoscale Discovery and development of fundamental knowledge pertaining to new Phenomena and Processes phenomena in the physical, biologic, and engineering sciences that occur on the nanoscale. Elucidation of scientific and engineering principles related to nanoscale structures, processes, and mechanisms. Nanomaterials Research aimed at the discovery of novel nanoscale and nanostructured materials and at a comprehensive understanding of the properties of nanomaterials (ranging across length scales and including interface interactions). Research and development (R&D) leading to the ability to design and synthesize, in a controlled manner, nanostructured materials with targeted properties. Nanoscale Devices and R&D that applies the principles of nanoscale science and engineering to create Systems novel devices and systems or to improve existing devices and systems. Includes the incorporation of nanoscale or nanostructured materials to achieve improved performance or new functionality. The enabling science and technology must be at the nanoscale, but the systems and devices themselves need not be. Instrumentation Research, R&D pertaining to the tools needed to advance nanotechnology research and Metrology, and Standards commercialization, including next-generation instrumentation for for Nanotechnology characterization, measurement, synthesis, and design of materials, structures, devices, and systems. Also includes R&D and other activities related to development of standards, including standards for nomenclature, materials characterization and testing, and manufacture. Nanomanufacturing R&D aimed at enabling scaled-up, reliable, and cost-effective manufacturing of nanoscale materials, structures, devices, and systems. Includes R&D and integration of ultraminiaturized top-down processes and increasingly complex bottom-up or self-assembly processes. Major Research Facilities Establishment of user facilities, acquisition of major instrumentation, and other and Instrumentation activities that develop, support, or enhance the nation’s scientific infrastructure Acquisition for the conduct of nanoscale science, engineering, and technology R&D. Includes continuing operation of user facilities and networks. Environment, Health, and Research directed primarily at understanding the environmental, health, and Safety safety effects of nanotechnology development and corresponding risk assessment, risk management, and methods for risk mitigation. Education and Societal Education-related activities, such as development of materials for schools, Dimensions undergraduate programs, technical training, and public communication, including outreach and engagement. Research directed at identifying and quantifying the broad implications of nanotechnology for society, including social, economic, workforce, educational, ethical, and legal implications. SOURCE: National Science and Technology Council, National Nanotechnology Initiative Strategic Plan, February 2011, available at http://www.nano.gov/sites/default/files/pub_resource/2011_strategic_plan.pdf. Accessed April 24, 2012. would include number of publications, topics, quality of journals, number of citations, and so on. However, there is no comprehensive compilation of publications for NNI-funded R&D for any agency, much less for the whole NNI. The challenge of developing metrics that align with all the NNI goals is the focus of Chapters 3 and 4 of this interim report. 8
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TABLE 2.3 Relationships Between Program Component Areas and Missions, Interests, and Needs of Agencies Participating in the National Nanotechnology Initiative Instrumentation Research, Phenomena and Processes Metrology, and Standards Environment, Health, and Major Research Facilities Fundamental Nanoscale Nanoscale Devices and Education and Societal and Instrumentation Nanomanufacturing Nanomaterials Dimensions Acquisition Systems Safety BIS (DOC) CPSC DOD DOE DOEd DHS DOJ/NIJ DOL DOS DOT DOTreas EPA FDA (DHHS) FS (USDA) IC/DNI NASA NIFA (USDA) NIH (DHHS) NIOSH (DHHS) NIST (DOC) NSF U.S. NRC ARS (USDA) USGS (DOI) USITC USPTO (DOC) NOTE: A check mark denotes a primary relationship and a bullet a secondary relationship. SOURCE: National Science and Technology Council, National Nanotechnology Initiative Strategic Plan, February 2011, available at http://www.nano.gov/sites/default/files/ pub_resource/2011_strategic_plan.pdf. Accessed 4/24/2012. 9
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BOX 2.1 Department of Defense Statement The following is excerpted from DOD’s statement in the 2011 NNI Strategic Plan. Department of Defense (DOD) leadership considers nanotechnology to have high and growing potential to contribute to the warfighting capabilities of the nation. Because of the broad and interdisciplinary nature of nanotechnology, DOD leadership views it as an enabling technology area that should receive the highest level of department attention and coordination. The vision and capability construct of Defense Research and Engineering includes nanotechnology as one of four exemplary foundational technologies, along with advanced materials, advanced electronics, and manufacturing technology. DOD Basic Research acknowledges that realizing the potential of nanotechnology is a key research objective. In particular, nanotechnology is an enabling technology for new classes of sensors (such as novel focal plane arrays and chemical/biological threat sensors), communications, and information processing systems needed for qualitative improvements in persistent surveillance. The DOD also invests in nanotechnology for advanced energetic materials, photocatalytic coatings, active microelectronic devices, structural fibers, strength- and toughness-enhancing additives, advanced processing, and a wide array of other promising applications. SOURCE: National Science and Technology Council, National Nanotechnology Initiative Strategic Plan, February 2011, available at http://www.nano.gov/sites/default/files/pub_resource/2011_strategic_plan.pdf. Accessed 04/24/2012. BOX 2.2 National Institutes of Health Statement The following is excerpted from NIH’s statement in the 2011 NNI Strategic Plan. The NIH mission is to seek fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems and the application of that knowledge to enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce the burdens of illness and disability. Toward this end, NIH leadership realizes that advances in nanoscience and nanotechnology have the potential to make valuable contributions to biology and medicine, which in turn could contribute to a new era in healthcare. The Federal agencies’ R&D investments, for example, have resulted in advanced materials, tools, and nanotechnology-enabled instrumentation that can be used to study and understand biological processes in health and disease. The NIH-supported R&D efforts, in particular, are bringing about new paradigms in the detection, diagnosis, and treatment of common and rare diseases, resulting in new classes of nanotherapeutics and diagnostic biomarkers, tests, and devices. SOURCE: National Science and Technology Council, National Nanotechnology Initiative Strategic Plan, February 2011, available at http://www.nano.gov/sites/default/files/pub_resource/2011_strategic_plan.pdf. Accessed 04/24/2012. BOX 2.3 Department of Labor Statement The following is excerpted from DOL’s statement in the 2011 NNI Strategic Plan. The Department of Labor (DOL) Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) plays an integral role in nanotechnology by protecting the nation’s workforce. Through the NNI interagency efforts, OSHA accomplishes its mission by collaborating and sharing information with other Federal agencies. As part of this effort, OSHA’s goal is to educate employers on their responsibility to protect workers and educate them on safe practices in handling nanomaterials. OSHA is developing guidance and educational materials promoting worker safety and health that will be shared with the public and through the NNI. SOURCE: National Science and Technology Council, National Nanotechnology Initiative Strategic Plan, February 2011, available at http://www.nano.gov/sites/default/files/pub_resource/2011_strategic_plan.pdf. Accessed 04/24/2012. 10