Nanotechnology: A Policy Primer
Congressional research rept.
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE
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Nanoscale science, engineering and technology--commonly referred to collectively as nanotechnology--is believed by many to offer extraordinary economic and societal benefits. Congress has demonstrated continuing support for nanotechnology and has directed its attention primarily to three topics that may affect the realization of this hoped for potential federal research and development RD in nanotechnology U.S. competitiveness and environmental, health, and safety EHS concerns. This report provides an overview of these topics--which are discussed in more detail in other CRS reports--and two others nanomanufacturing and public understanding of and attitudes toward nanotechnology. The development of this emerging field has been fostered by significant and sustained public investments in nanotechnology RD. Nanotechnology RD is directed toward the understanding and control of matter at dimensions of roughly 1 to 100 nanometers. At this size, the properties of matter can differ in fundamental and potentially useful ways from the properties of individual atoms and molecules and of bulk matter. Since the launch of the National Nanotechnology Initiative NNI in 2000 through FY2009, Congress has appropriated approximately 10.2 billion for nanotechnology RD. In addition, the President requested an additional 1.6 billion in funding for nanotechnology RD for FY2010. While Congress has passed all of the regular appropriations acts, the precise amount provided for FY2010 is currently under evaluation by the agencies and the White House Office of Management and Budget and will likely be published with the Presidents FY2011 budget request in February 2010. More than 60 nations have established similar programs. In 2006 alone, total global public RD investments reached an estimated 6.4 billion, complemented by an estimated private sector investment of 6.0 billion. technology.
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