Dr. Joseph Bordogna
Chief Operating Officer
National Science Foundation
National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network (NNIN) Informational Meeting
January 30, 2003
Thank you for your interest in NSF's National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network (NNIN) program. The purpose of this Informational Meeting is two-fold. First, we want to introduce the NNIN program and answer your questions about it. Secondly, researchers will be presenting posters describing their institution's nanotechnology facilities and capabilities. By bringing you together and seeing what your colleagues are working on, we hope to encourage you to exchange ideas and begin to form partnerships for developing competitive network proposals for the NNIN program.
The NNIN is a new initiative built upon the success of the National Nanofabrication Users Network (NNUN), which concludes at the end of 2003. NSF funded the NNUN for ten years, and we learned prodigiously over that period of time. We discovered new techniques and uses for nano fabrication, and also recognized the benefits of connecting facilities and people together to capitalize on each other's resources and expertise. NSF successfully applied the networking paradigm to other infrastructure projects, including the Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES), and, in keeping with the goals of the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI), NSF wants to create an expanded national infrastructure for nanotechnology research through the NNIN.
NNIN improves upon the fabrication capabilities of the NNUN, and adds design, characterization and measurement functionality. With NNIN, researchers will be able to perform analysis, probing and manipulation of objects at the nanoscale, determine the physical, chemical and biological properties of nano-structures, and develop models and simulations prior to fabrication. We envision the NNIN as a "one-stop shop" to find the right capabilities for your research needs. NNIN sites will be distributed across the country, providing access to diverse yet complementary tools designed to serve users in academia, industry and government - spanning the entire frontier of science and engineering.
A quick perusal of the NNIN program solicitation illustrates the broad reach and broader promise of nanoscale science and engineering. All of the NSF directorates participate in this competition, with annual funding of approximately $14 million. This is a substantial increase over NNUN (which was funded most recently at $6 million), representing a significant investment by NSF. For the Geosciences (GEO) Directorate, NNIN will allow nanoscale measurement of naturally-occurring materials. The Education and Human Resources (EHR) Directorate is interested in enabling education and outreach at all levels, from K-12 through the post-doctoral level. Our Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE) Directorate is concerned with understanding the societal and ethical impacts of nanoscale science and engineering.
SBE's involvement is a direct result of the September, 2000 "Societal Implications of Nanoscience and Technology" workshop, which was organized at the request of the President's National Science and Technology Council. The report from that workshop stated that "the study of the societal implications of nanotechnology must be an integral part of the National Nanotechnology Initiative." For the first time, we will evaluate the societal and ethical impact of research up-front, as an integral part of the process, and not as an afterthought. This new focus will help researchers to consider the intent of their designs, in addition to the designs themselves. In fact, the session tomorrow will feature experts from the social science and education communities, to address the broader perspectives of nanoscale science and engineering.
In closing, thank you again for your interest and participation. Please accept my best wishes for a useful, productive meeting. I look forward to seeing the results reflected in your proposals.
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