National Science and Technology Council

For Immediate Release 
Contact: 202/456-6108
January 21, 2000

Newly Released NSTC Reports Provide A Coherent Vision For The Future of Nanotechnology Research & Development

Today, the President unveiled the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) as a key R&D effort in the Administration's FY 2001 budget.  The emerging field of nanotechnology is taking the world by storm with the potential for greater understanding and control over the fundamental building blocks of all physical things.

 "If I were asked for an area of science and engineering that will most likely produce the breakthroughs of tomorrow, I would point to nanoscale science and engineering," proposed Dr. Neal Lane, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, in 1998 at a Congressional Hearing.

In the next 10-20 years, new discoveries at the nanoscale promise revolutionary commercial applications across a wide range of areas, with relevance to manufacturing, healthcare, the environment, and national security.  To ensure that the Federal Government is evaluating ways to make strategic research and development (R&D) in this emerging field of nanoscale, the National Science and Technology Council's (NSTC) Interagency Working Group on Nano-Science, Engineering and Technology (IWGN) initiated efforts to formulate R&D priorities for nanotechnology that could establish the basis for a national investment strategy.

Today, the NSTC posted two reports that define nanotechnology, describe its revolutionary impact on many aspects of our society, and provide a vision for the way researchers in this field can begin to collaborate in this multi-disciplinary environment.

The two NSTC publications are:

Nanotechnology:  Shaping the World Atom by Atom

This publication sets the stage for increasing the public's understanding of what nanotechnology is, how nanotechnology came to be, and its potential impact on society. It finds that the emerging fields of nanoscience and nanoengineering are leading to unprecedented understanding and control over the fundamental building blocks of all physical things. This is likely to change the way almost everything - from vaccines to computers to automobile tires to objects not yet imagined - is designed and made.

IWGN Workshop Report:  Nanotechnology Research Directions

This publication provides a vision for how the nanotechnology community -- Federal agencies, industries, universities, and professional societies -- can more effectively coordinate efforts to develop a wide range of revolutionary commercial applications. It includes begins to make recommendations on how to develop a balanced R&D nanotechnology infrastructure, advance critical research areas, and nurture the scientific and technical workforce of the next century.  It incorporates perspectives developed at a January 1999 IWGN-sponsored workshop by experts from universities, industry, and the Federal government.  It builds upon the foundation provided in a previous NSTC publication entitled, Nanostructure Science and Technology:  A Worldwide Study (

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