The US White House Office of Science and Technology Policy has requested comments from the public: No Input is Too Small: Comment on National Nanotechnology Initiative’s Strategic Plan

Posted by Travis Earles on November 01, 2010 at 12:07 PM EDT

Starting today, public comment is being accepted on the draft Strategic Plan for the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI), which is posted at the NNI Strategy Portal. The NNI is an interagency program for coordinating Federal research and development in nanotechnology, which is the understanding and control of matter at dimensions between approximately 1 and 100 nanometers. At these super small scales, unique phenomena emerge, enabling the development of materials and devices with novel applications. Research in nanoscale science and engineering has the potential to bring about new nanotechnology innovations, such as improving how we collect and store energy, reinforce materials, sense contaminants, target drugs, and shrink and accelerate computational devices.

The NNI Strategic Plan is the framework that underpins the nanotechnology work of 25 NNI member agencies. It aims to ensure that advances in nanotechnology R&D and their applications to agency missions continue unabated in this fledgling field. Its purpose is to facilitate achievement of the NNI vision by laying out targeted guidance for agency leaders, program managers, and the research community regarding planning and implementation of nanotechnology R&D investments and activities.

…You may review the draft Plan and submit comments of approximately one page or less (4,000 characters) from now until November 30, 2010.

To comment on the DRAFT National Nanotechnology Initiative Strategic Plan 2010, you must first register. In a quick scan I did not find any mention of the advanced nanotechnology that is Foresight’s primary concern. Searches for the phrases “atomic precision”, “atomically precise”, “productive nanosystems”, and “molecular manufacturing” all came up negative. The various program component areas (see page 5) do make a strong case for expanded incremental improvements in the design, manufacturing, and use of nanostructured products in a wide range of applications—electronics, materials, energy, medical, environment, health, and safety, etc. Perhaps the closest indirect allusion to advanced nanotechnology is Program Component Area 5 – 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 ultra-miniaturized top-down processes and increasingly complex bottom-up or self-assembly processes.

Whether your primary interest is near-term or long-term, let them know what you think of their plan.