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NSF 14-068

Dear Colleague Letter: Community Input On Future NSF Nanotechnology Infrastructure Support Program

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Dear Colleagues:

The Engineering Directorate invites input from members of the science and engineering community on a future NSF nanotechnology infrastructure support program that will succeed the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network (NNIN). The input window for comment will be open from May 2, 2014 through June 2, 2014.

Over the past decade NNIN facilities have supported users from academia, small and large companies, and government with open access to leading-edge fabrication and characterization tools, instrumentation, and expertise within all disciplines of nanoscale science, engineering, and technology. The Foundation is not going forward with an award in the competition that closed earlier this year for a Next Generation NNIN. We are now taking the opportunity to update and enhance the approach for a successor program. One such approach could be a competition for individual university user facilities positioned across the nation, with a coordinating university competed to provide management as a network.

The overall selection of university sites would comprise facilities and instrumentation addressing user needs across the broad science and engineering domains at the nanostructures, materials, devices, and systems levels. We are also seeking to be more inclusive of less-traditional user communities in biosciences, geosciences, and environmental sciences, and emerging technology platforms evolving from nanoscale science and engineering. Individual sites could choose to focus on particular subfields within their areas of expertise.

It will be particularly important to receive input on the following aspects: most critical characteristics of a nanotechnology infrastructure support program; key goals for such a program in terms of serving broad user communities; most promising new research opportunities that could be enabled by such a program; importance to student education, training, and outreach; relations to other such nanotechnology infrastructure available from other sources; and possible options to the design of the successor program.

Your input will be made available to external study panels and NSF staff in further deliberations on the development of the future NSF nanotechnology infrastructure support program.

Please provide your input via email to Compose your input preferably in the body of a plain-text email message. Alternately, you may send it as an attachment, while including a brief summary in the text of the email message. Try to be as concise and understandable as possible in the points you wish to convey. Please keep your response to no more than 3 pages in length.

We thank you in advance for your comments and the effort you are making to participate in this important process.


Pramod P. Khargonekar
Assistant Director for Engineering
National Science Foundation