EPA invites exploratory research in nanotech

from the "using-foresight-to-protect-the-environmental-future" dept.

The US Environmental Protection Agency is inviting applications for "Exploratory Research to Anticipate Future Environmental Issues" covering:

  1. Exploratory Research in Nanotechnogy
  2. Futures Research in Natural Sciences
  3. Futures Research in Socio-Economics

The nanotech part encourages a range of MNT-type ideas, natural science futures hopes for novel solutions, while the socio-economic part requests fairly conventional trend analysis. Closing date for the Nanotechnogy Program ($5m available) is June 18, 2001. Read More for a quote from the nanotech RFA.

"Research is needed to demonstrate the utility and value of nanoscale science and technology in environmental science. Any revolutionary science and engineering approach to the existing infrastructure of consumer goods, manufacturing methods, and materials usage is sure to have major consequences on the environment. What these consequences are and whether they are good or bad for the environment needs to be anticipated in nanoscience and nanotechnology. In order to understand the environmental consequences of processing and transporting contaminants in the environment, interdisciplinary research on molecular and nanoscale processes that take place at one or more of the interfaces within nanoscale structures in natural systems is needed. Such research would include studies of the interfaces between inorganic/inorganic, inorganic/organic, and organic/organic structures focused on specific processes characterized by small scales. Research that involves novel approaches and that adapts newly developed experimental, theoretical, and computational methods for characterizing nanostructures is needed. Projects might, for example, fit into one or more of the following categories:

(1) Synthesis and Processing. Enable the atomic and molecular control of material building blocks and develop engineering tools to provide the means to assemble and utilize these tailored building blocks for new industrial processes which are environmentally benign and develop devices for environmental applications such as monitors and sensors;

(2) Characterization and Manipulation. Discover and develop new experimental tools to broaden the capability to measure and control nanostructured matter, including developing new standards of measurement for environmental processes;

(3) Modeling and Simulation. Accelerate the application of novel concepts and high-performance computation to the prediction of nanostructured properties, phenomena, and processes in the environment; and

(4) Device and System Concepts. Stimulate the innovative application of nanostructure properties in ways that might be exploited in new technologies that are greener than existing environmental technologies."

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