Nano.gov announces webinar for 09/20/2012

In a notice that appeared in last Thursday's Federal Register, the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office (NNCO), announced that it would be hosting a webinar on Nano.gov on Thursday 09/20/2012, from 12:15 until 1PM. " NNCO is seeking public comment and recommendations on potential updates to, improvements on, and opportunities for public engagement through Nano.gov."

The webinar will consist of two parts. Part 1, the first 20 minutes of the webinar, will be spent on short presentations by the moderator and four panelists:

                             
Marlowe Epstein-Newman pic

Moderator:
Marlowe Epstein-Newman, National Nanotechnology Coordination Office (NNCO)—Marlowe is the Communications Director at NNCO and was the Project Manager for the first Nano.gov redesign in 2011. She manages the content on Nano.gov as well as the NNI’s social media presence.      

     

  

 
Carl Batt pic

Panelists:
Carl Batt, Cornell University—Carl is a Food Science professor with ties to National Science Foundation as a regularly consulted expert. Carl recently collaborated with the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network and Walt Disney World to create a permanent nanotechnology exhibit at Epcot Center.

 

Josh Chamot pic

 

Joshua A,  Chamot, National Science Foundation (NSF)—Josh is a public affairs specialist in NSF's Office of Legislative and Public Affairs. As a seasoned public affairs professional, he provides a unique perspective on media, public relations, and outreach tactics from a Federal Government perspective. Josh works in a variety of media to bring science stories to the public.

 

 

Latko pic

 

Mary Ann Latko, American Industrial Hygiene Association(AIHA)—Mary Ann is a Managing Director at AIHA. She represents workers across manufacturing sectors and is well-versed in enivironment, health, and safety (EHS) and regulatory issues, often working closely with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

 

 

Naz Beiramee

 

Nazhin Beiramee, OMNI StudiosNazhin is a web designer who has worked on Nano.gov as well as other .govs including the the Food and Drug Administration, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Cancer Institute.

 

 

The remaining portion of the webinar will be a Q&A session, with questions submitted by the audience. Questions and comments should be focused on 

    • How is Nano.gov useful to you and your stakeholders/colleagues/peers?

    • What do you like on Nano.gov? Which pages are most useful to you? Why?

    • What would you like to see improved? Are there pages you don’t understand? Confusing information? Poor layout? Difficult to use?

    • Are there pages that you feel are missing from Nano.gov? What other types of pages would you like to see? What information would you like to find on Nano.gov that isn’t currently there?

    • Are there similar websites that present information in a way that you find more useful, exciting, attractive or user-friendly?

     

The NNCO will begin accepting questions and comments via email (webinar@nnco.nano.gov) and Twitter (@NNInanonews) 24 hours prior to the event, until the close of the webinar at 1pm on September 20. These will be read and addressed during the live event. The NNCO reserves the right to group similar questions and to address only those questions and comments germane to the topic.
 

Registration for the webinar is required and is now open.

National Science Foundation 2013 Budget Request

As part of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 budget appropriations process, Dr. Subra Suresh, Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF), appeared before the House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science,  and Related Agencies on Tuesday, 03/06/2012, to present and respond to the subcommittee members questions about the NSF's proposed 2013 budget.

According to Dr. Suresh's prepared statement, the 2013 request, "totals $7.373 billion, an increase of $340.0 million (4.8 percent) over the FY 2012 enacted level . . . . [Providing] increased support for core programs in fundemental research and education in all fields of science and engineering".

Dr. Suresh's prepared statement reflects the reality of budget constraints imposed by the Federal government's need to reduce the level of the Federal deficit. noting that "As good stewards of the public trust, we have reduced or eliminated lower priority programs . . . . "

Among the programs targeted for reductions in funding are the Nanoscale Science and Engineering Centers (NSECS). . . .

because the state of research in this area has matured significantly and the research should advance more rapidly in  a different, more use-inspired research center program. Several NSECS grants may transition to the Nanosystems Engineering Research Centers (NERCS) as the nanodevices and processes created at graduating NSECSs move to the systems level and potential commercialization. NSF will continue to support eleven NSECs in FY 2013 including the Nanomanufacturing ERC.

As described in a 2001 program solicitation the NSECs could be be "based at a single institution or may consist of a lead institution in partnership with one or more partner institutions".  These Centers were designed to

address opportunities that are too complex and multi-faceted for individuals or small groups of researchers to tackle on their own. They will bring together researchers with diverse expertise, in partnership with industry, government laboratories, and/or partners from other sectors, to address complex, interdisciplinary challenges in nanoscale science and engineering, and will integrate research with education both internally and through a variety of partnership activities. Each center, whether based at a single institution or distributed across a number of institutions, must have an overarching research and education theme, well-integrated programs, and a coherent and effective management plan. The NSECs as a whole will span the range from exploratory research, focused on discovery, to technology innovation and will involve a broad spectrum of disciplines such as engineering, mathematics, computer science, the physical sciences, earth science, and biological sciences.

The following is a list of these centers:

Center for Hierarchical Manufacturing
University of Massachusetts—Amherst

Center for Nanoscale Systems (NSEC)
Cornell University

Science of Nanoscale Systems and their Device Applications (NSEC)
Harvard University

Center for Biological and Environmental Nanotechnology
Rice University

Center for Integrated Nanopatterning and Detection Technologies (NSEC)
Northwestern University

Center for Electron Transport in Molecular Nanostructures (NSEC)
Columbia University

Center for Directed Assembly of Nanostructures (NSEC)
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Center for Scalable and Integrated Nano-Manufacturing (NSEC)
University of California—Los Angeles

Center for Chemical-Electrical-Mechanical Manufacturing Systems (NSEC)
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Center on Templated Synthesis and Assembly at the Nanoscale
University of Wisconsin

Center for Probing the Nanoscale
Stanford University

Center for Affordable Nanoengineering of Polymeric Biomedical Devices
Ohio State University

Center of Integrated Nanomechanical Systems
University of California—Berkeley

Nano-Bio Interface Center
University of Pennsylvania

Center for High Rate Nanomanufacturing
Northeastern University

Center for Nanotechnology in Society
Arizona State University

Center for Nanotechnology in Society
University of California—Santa Barbara

Societal Interactions with Nanotechnology—NanoCenter
University of South Carolina

Dr. Suresh's statement does not indicate how much funding is being cut from the NSECs program budget.

As with other Federal Departments and agencies, this hearing was only the beginning of what can sometimes be a tedious and fractious process. While the possibility of Congress increasing NSF's FY 2013 budget over President Obama's request, the more likely possibility is of it being reduced further from the proposed $7.373 billion.

We'll continue to monitor the NSF budget as it makes it's way through Congress and will post updates.

Nanotechnology A Policy Primer

The Congressional Research Service, in March of this year, released a report, "Nanotechnology: A Policy Primer", written by John F. Sargent, Jr., a specialist in Science and Technology Policy. The primer's first section focuses on a review of the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI). A table showing funding from various government agencies and departments for NNI shows that from FY 2006 to FR 2010, the Department of Defense (DOD) has been the largest single source of funding. However, this is about to change. In FY 2011, DOD will fall to 4th place, preceded by the Department of Energy (DOE), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). This shifting of the majority of funding from DOD  may reflect a normal path of evolution; DOD has long been a source of funding for new technologies that eventually develop non-military uses. It may also reflect that future DOD budgets will not be as robust as they have been in the last few years.

Noting that "In the longer term, nanotechnology may deliver revolutionary advances with profound economic and societal implications", Part 2 of the CRS report considers briefly area that may be most affected by nanotech:

Detection and treatment technologies for cancer

"Clean, inexpensive, renewable power through energy creation, storage and transmission technologies"

Universal Access to clean water supplies, both in the US and less developed nations:  " Nanotechnology water desalination and filtration systems may offer affordable, scalable and portable water filtration systems".

"High density memory devices", improving the performance of computers and other devices.

Improved, more abundant crop yields and nutrition: " Higher crop yields might be achieved using nanoscale sensors that detect the presence of a virus or disease infecting particle . . . . Nanotechnology also offers the potential for improved nutrition. Some companies are exploring the development of nanocapsules that release nutrients targeted at specific parts of the body at specific times".

Self-healing materials

"Sensors that can warn of minute levels of toxic and pathogens in air, soil, or water."

Remediation of contaminated sites: ". . .  nanoscale particles . . . may offer more effective and less costly solution to environmental contamination."

The report also discusses other selected issues, primarily US competitiveness with other nations in the  nanotech area, using public and private investment, scientific papers published and cited, and patents issued as measurement parameters. The report notes that while the United States still leads all other nations in these areas, that lead has diminished over the last few years, with Japan, Germany and the People's Republic of China (PRC) poised to assume the lead. In these areas, the potential loss of US competitiveness is reflected in the debates in the media and Congress over free trade agreements (FTAs) and government policy towards the manufacturing sector and how best to aid it.

The report concludes with brief considerations of (1) environmental, health and safety implications of nanotechnology, (2) nanomanufacturing, and (3) public attitudes toward and understanding or misunderstanding of nanotech issues, noting that public support for nanotech tends to be greatest among those with advanced degrees and higher incomes.