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Research and Development 2002


M.C. Roco, NSF Chair, National Science and Technology Council's subcommittee on Nanoscale Science, Engineering and Technology (NSET)

Extras from AAAS Report XXVI, Washington, D.C., July 2001, pp. 225-233; Budgets updated on February 5, 2002


The emerging fields of nanoscale science, engineering, and technology – the ability to work at the molecular level, atom by atom, to create large structures with fundamentally new properties and functions – are leading to unprecedented understanding and control over the basic building blocks and properties of all natural and man-made things. The FY 2002 funding request for nanoscale science, engineering and technology (noted in brief - nanotechnology) research and development (R&D) in ten federal departments and agencies is summarized in Table 1. The total nanotechnology budget enacted by Congress is approximately $604 million (The initial request to Congress was $518.9 million), 43% over $422 million for FY 2001. This investment is known as the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI). The National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) Subcommittee on Nanoscale Science, Engineering, and Technology (NSET) will coordinate the Federal government's multi-agency nanoscale R&D programs, including planning, budgeting, implementing, developing interagency collaboration, and reviewing the NNI to ensure an efficient investment with broad impact. The R&D strategy is balanced across five kind of activities: fundamental research, Grand Challenges, centers and networks of excellence, research infrastructure, as well as ethical, legal and social implications and workforce programs (

Table 1. Summary of Federal nanotechnology investment in FY 2002 Budget Request (in million of dollars)

Department/Agency FY 2000
NNI Budget
FY 2001
FY 2002
Department of Defense* 70 110 133 / 180.0
Department of Energy 58 93 97 / 91.1
Department of Justice - - 1.4 / 1.4
Department of Transportation (FAA) - - - / 2
Environmental Protection Agency - - 5 / 5
National Aeronautics and Space Admin. 5 20 46 / 46
National Institutes of Health 32 39 45 / 40.8
National Institute of Standards and Techn. 8 10 17.5 / 37.6
National Science Foundation 97 150 174 / 199.0
US Department of Agriculture - - - / 1.5
Total** 270 422 518.9 / 604.4 (+43%)

(**) Figures are not available for five organizations that participate in the federal nanotechnology investment starting with January 2001: Department of Commerce (DOC), Department of State (DOS), Department of Treasury (DOTreas), NOAA, and Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).


The FY 2002 request, initially $133 million, was augmented at $180 million, $70 million over the enacted FY 2001 budget. This represents a projection from estimated FY 2001 budget and is subject to change as a result of the Defense Strategy Review now underway in DOD. The request will continue support for the nanoscale science and technology R&D base of $70 million in Air Force, Army and Navy, and $30 million for the Office of Strategic Defense (OSD). In addition, this budget will include basic research funds for the university / DOD laboratory collaborative research programs at Air Force (by $10M), Army (by $10M), and Navy (by $13 million). DOD's priorities are aligned with its Basic Research Plan, the OSD guidance for basic research; and with its Joint Vision 2010, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs' conceptual template for achieving new levels of warfighting effectiveness. These documents forecast dynamic change in the nature of potential adversaries and emphasize the increasingly critical nature of technological advances.

The FY 2002 funding will largely be utilized to augment programs in the three NNI R&D Grand Challenges with prime DOD interest - nano-electronics, optoelectronics, and magnetics; nanostructured materials "by design"; and bio-nanosensor devices. The distribution of DOD augmented funds between these three challenges will be determined in collaboration with other NSET agencies: DOE and NASA in nanoelectronics; NSF and DOE in nanomaterials; and NSF, NIH, DOE and NASA in nanobiotechnology, as well as a function of the quality of proposals received. With its $10 million augmentation, the Army Research Laboratory (ARL) programs will catalyze the recently created ARL Nanoscience and Technology Center (NSTC). The ARL NSTC coordinates active 6.1 nanoscience and 6.2 nanotechnology research teams in the Sensors and Electron Devices Directorate, the Weapons and Materials Research Directorate, the Computation and Information Science Directorate, and the Army Research Office. With its $10 million augmentation, the Air Force Research Laboratory will extend its programs in nanostructured materials, nanofabrication technologies, sensor components, and simulation of nanomaterials. With its $13 million augmentation the Navy plans to expand its collaborative University - Naval Research Laboratory program addressing interconnection and interaction between disparate nanostructures in complex systems. Funding for research, equipment, student fellowships have been requested. DOD participation in NNI is coordinated by the Research Director in the Office of Director, Defense Research and Engineering (DDR&E). The DOD nanotechnology budgets and programs are identified at or


The FY 2002 Request of $91.1 million is an increase of $3 million over FY 2001 for the Basic Engineering Sciences (BES, total $85.0 million) project related to the establishment of user centers for nanoscale science, engineering, and technology research, and of $6.1 million for Office of Defense Programs. The funds will allow designated projects for four centers to proceed from conceptual design into definitive design. The base funding from FY 2001 includes about $36 million for university and national laboratories R&D, and $10.5 million in the, the same as in FY 2001. The amount is an estimate of the work supported at Sandia, Los Alamos, and Livermore National Laboratories. The funding covers approximately $34 million for fundamental research, $29 million for NNI Grand Challenges, $15 million for centers, $15 million for research infrastructure. A R&D program solicitation of approximately $18 million for university research and $18 million for DOE laboratories is planned. The DOE nanotechnology budgets and programs are identified at or


The FY 2002 DOJ budget for nanotechnology R&D is $1.4 million. Major interests are in forensic research, sensors, DNA sequencing, high performance computing, and data base management. The National Institute of Justice (NIJ) is the research agency of the U.S. Department of Justice. NIJ investment of $1 million will continue the DNA R&D as well as the demonstration of chip based or micro device technologies to analyze DNA in forensic applications. Nanotechnology products will be a significant part of the device under development that will eventually be integrated into the current crime laboratory processes and protocols to analyze forensic DNA samples. NIJ investment of $0.4 million for the Chemical and Biological Defense Program will include developing a wearable, low-cost device to provide warning of exposure to unanticipated chemical and biological hazards in sufficient time for its wearer to take effective protective measures. The current approach relies on an enzymatic reaction. It is based on vapor exposure of an immobilized enzyme surface. Nanotechnology will be used to address limitations of the enzymatic approach.


The FY 2002 research request is approximately $5 million. The goal is improved characterization of environmental problems, significantly reduced environmental impacts from "cleaner" manufacturing approaches, and reduced material and energy use. The potential impacts of nanoparticles from different applications on human health and the environment must also be evaluated. Major nanotechnology related interests are in aerosols, colloids, clean air and water, measurement and remediation of nanoparticles in air, water, and soil. The Office of Research and Development (ORD) manages EPA's nanotechnology research, and the National Center for Environmental Research (NCER) manages the external grant solicitation. In addition, NCER has supported a limited number of nanotechnology-based projects through its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program. In house research currently includes the National Exposure Research Laboratory and the National Risk Management Research Laboratory, and may expand to other ORD laboratories in the future.


The FY 2002 request is $46 million, $24 million over FY 2001. The breakdown is approximately as follows: $11 million for materials (lead by the Langley Laboratory); $15 million for electronics and computing (Ames Laboratory); $10 million for sensors and components (including Jet Propulsion Laboratory with $3million); and $10 million for Basic Nanoscience. NASA's investment in nanoscience and nanotechnology is composed from contributions of several laboratories (mainly Ames, Langley and JPL) and externally supported research. Major themes and new programs in FY 2002 include: (a) Manufacturing techniques of single walled carbon nanotubes for structural reinforcement; electronic, magnetic, lubricating, and optical devices; chemical sensors and biosensors; (b) Tools to develop autonomous devices that articulate, sense, communicate, and function as a network, extending human presence beyond the normal senses; and (c) Robotics using nanoelectronics, biological sensors and artificial neural systems. Due to NASA's relatively modest budget, the Agency will focus primarily on NASA-unique needs, that is: low power devices, high strength materials that perform with exceptional autonomy in the hostile space environment. NASA looks to NSF-sponsored work for wide-ranging contributions in fundamental research, and emphasizes work in direct support of the Grand Challenge areas the agency selects for focus, some of them in collaboration with DOD (aerospace structural materials, radiation tolerant devices, high resolution imagery), NIH (non-invasive human health monitoring via identification and detection of molecular signatures, and biosensors) and DOE (lab-on-a-chip, and environmental monitoring). A major focus at NASA is to advance and exploit the zone of convergence between nanotechnology, biotechnology and information technology for space exploration. The Agency will spend up to $1M per year towards an understanding of the societal and ethical implications of nanotechnology, with a focus in the area of monitoring of human health. Opportunities will be sought with university research centers to arrange for student and postdoctoral fellows, including opportunities to work for periods of time at NASA Centers. It is the Agencies intent to extend international space mission collaborations into the arena of nanotechnology.


The FY 2002 request, initially at $45 million, was adjusted to approximately $40.8 million, an increase of $1.8 million above the approved level for FY 2001. NIH will issue several nanotechnology related R&D program announcements, that are subsets of the NIH FY 2002 Research Initiatives, of which more relevant are: (a) The Genetic Medicine Initiative includes large-scale sequencing to assist in interpreting the human sequence, and identifying and characterizing genes that are responsible for variations in diseases. An increased investment in nanotechnology research is planned to develop novel, revolutionary instruments that can be used to collect DNA sequence variation and gene expression data from individual patients, initially to identify genes involved in causing diseases, and later to diagnose exactly which form of the disease the patient has, to guide therapy that will actually treat that patient's disease; (b) The Initiative in Clinical Research to bridge basic discoveries to tomorrow's new treatments, including nanotechnology advances for development of sensors for disease signatures and diagnosis of diseases. Major themes and new programs in FY 2001 include: biomaterials, clinical diagnostic sensors, genomics sensors, nanoparticles and nanospheres for drug and gene delivery, multidisciplinary training, study social, ethical and legal aspects. The National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) is in formative stages at NIH and is expected to be operating by FY2002. The NIH Bioengineering Consortium (BECON) will coordinate research programs through NIBIB, including nanotechnology research.


The FY 2002 request initially at $17.5 million was increased to $37.6 million, $27.6 million increase over the enacted FY 2001 budget. The funds will be distributed across the NIST Laboratories. NIST will develop the critical enabling infrastructural measurement, standards, and data for nanomagnetics, nanocharacterization, and new information technologies that will replace semiconductor electronics in the future. Nanomagnetics research will provide measurement and standards for current and near-term applications of nanotechnology in the semiconductor, communications, and health care industries. Nanocharacterization research will produce standards and tools for visualization and characterization at the nanoscale, which are in high demand by a broad base of U.S. industries. Research will be conducted to provide fundamental measurements needed for future generations of information technology hardware that will be needed to replace semiconductor electronics technology in a decade or so. In order to leverage internal efforts, NIST will develop stronger strategic alliances and collaborations with universities, businesses, and other government agencies that possess leading expertise in nanotechnology. NIST plans to extend the FY 2001 investment for nanotechnology funding to these external organizations to conduct much of the specific work required to meet the goals of this initiative and avoid developing costly, complex in-house capabilities that may only be used once. As an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, NIST works to help facilitate international trade by working with international standards organizations and national metrology institutes. Key issues in the future for international trade, with respect to nanotechnology, will be traceability of measurements and "harmonization" of international standards.


The FY 2002 request for the Nanoscale Science and Engineering initially at $174 million was augmented at approximately $199 million, $49 million increase over FY 2001. All research directorates participate as it is shown in Table 2.

Table 2. NSF FY 2002 request (in millions of dollars)

Directorate FY 2001 Current Plan FY 2002 Request
Biological Sciences 2.33 2.33
Computer and Information Science and Engineering 2.20 10.20
Engineering 55.27 86.30
Geosciences 6.80 6.80
Mathematics and Physical Science 83.08 93.08
Total, Nanoscale Science and Engineering $149.68 $198.71

FY 2002 investment will expand a wide range of research and education activities in nanoscale science and technology, in order to develop and strengthen critical fields and to establish the physical science and engineering infrastructure and prepare the workforce. Support will be focused on interdisciplinary research and education teams, nanoscale science and engineering centers, exploratory research and education and training. NSF five programmatic focus areas are: (a) Fundamental research and education ($125.50 million) with special emphasis on biosystems at the nanoscale ($20.0 million); nanoscale structures, novel phenomena and quantum control (42.22 million); device and system architecture ($28.00 million); Nanoscale processes in the environment ($10.00 million), and manufacturing processes at the nanoscale ($6.5 million); multi-scale, multi-phenomena theory, modeling and simulation at the nanoscale ($18.77 million); (b) Grand Challenges ($8.71 million) will fund interdisciplinary activities to focus on major long-term challenges: nanostructured materials 'by design,' nanoscale electronics, optoelectronics and magnetics, nanoscale-based manufacturing, catalysts, chemical manufacturing, environment and healthcare; (c) Centers and networks of excellence ($32.50 million) will provide support for about 15 research and education centers, a multidisciplinary, multi-sectoral network for modeling and simulation at the nanoscale, and nanofabrication experimentation and user facilities; (d) Research Infrastructure ($22.00 million) for instrumentation and facilities for improved measurements, processing and manipulation at nanoscale, and equipment and software for modeling and simulation; (e) Societal and educational implications of science and technology advances ($10.00 million) for student assistantships, fellowships and traineeships, curriculum development on nanoscience and engineering and development of new teaching tools. The impact of nanotechnology on society will be analyzed from legal, ethical, social, and economic perspectives. Collaborative activities are planned with DOD in the area of nanostructured materials and modeling, with DOE in the areas of user facilities and sustainable development, with NASA in nanobiotechnology and nanodevices, with NIH in bioengineering and bionanodevices, with NIST in instrumentation development, and with other agencies. The Nanoscale Science and Engineering (NSE) Group including representatives from all directorates coordinates the NNI activities at NSF. The NSF nanoscale science and engineering budgets and programs are identified at or

The Department of Transportation and Department of Agriculture have started new programs focused on air traffic security ($2 million in fiscal year 2002) and food processing ($1.5 million in fiscal year 2002), respectively.


The NSTC' subcommittee on Nanoscale Science, Engineering and Technology (NSET) will coordinate joint activities that create synergies between the individual agencies in a variety of topics and modalities of collaboration. The coordination will: identify of the most promising research directions, funding of complementary/synergistic fields of research that are critical for the advancement of the nanoscience and engineering field, develop a balanced infrastructure (portfolio of programs, development of new specific tools, instrumentation, simulation infrastructure, standards for nanoscale), correlate funding activities for centers and networks of excellence, cost share high cost R&D activities, develop a broad workforce trained in the many aspects necessary to nanotechnology, study of the diverse, complex implications on society such as effect of nanomaterial manufacturing on environment and effect of nanodevices on health, and avoid of unnecessary duplication of efforts. The coordination also will address NNI management issues.

Examples of major collaborative NNI activities crossing the eight agencies with FY2002 budget request listed in Table 1 are shown in Table 3. DOS is contributing to international aspects on all topics. DOT, DOTreas and DOA also participate in their areas of interest.

Table 3. Examples of proposed NNI interagency collaborative activities

Fundamental research x x     x x   x
Nanostructured materials x x   x x x x x
Molecular electronics x       x   x x
Spin electronics x       x     x
Lab-on-a-chip (nanocomponents) x x x   x x x x
Biosensors, bioinformatics     x   x x   x
Bioengineering x x       x   x
Quantum computing x x     x   x x
Measurements and standards for tools x x   x   x x x
Nanoscale theory, modeling, simulation x x     x     x
Environmental monitoring   x   x x     x
Nanorobotics   x     x     x
Unmanned missions x       x      
International collaboration x x x x x x x x
Nanofabrication user facilities   x   x x x x x