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Nanomanufacturing Gets a Boost in Recent Legislation

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National Nanomanufacturing Network: Two pieces of legislation, the National Nanotechnology Initiative Reauthorization Act and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, acknowledge the importance of nanomanufacturing for increased American competitiveness and economic growth.

The National Nanotechnology Initiative Reauthorization Act (H.R. 554), which passed in the House of Representatives on February 11, directs the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) to more proactively address the public perception, commercialization, and Environmental Health and Safety dimensions of nanotechnology research and development.

Specifically, H.R. 554 includes language that

  • Supports standards setting across all areas of nanotechnology development;
  • Establishes a public database for the Environmental Health and Safety, Education and Societal Dimensions, and Nanomanufacturing program component areas;
  • Supports technology transfer through prototyping and the establishment of industry liaison groups;  
  • Directs nanomanufacturing research toward tools and instrumentation, advanced processes for manufacturing, and environmentally benign products and processes.

As the PorterWright Nanotechnology Law Report reminds us, though, this bill must pass through the Senate before it becomes law.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (H.R. 1), or Stimulus Bill (Press Summary here), which was signed into law by President Obama on February 17, allocates significant funds—$16 billion—to Science and Technology, as has been broadly discussed (here and here, for example). Funding totals $3 billion for the National Science Foundation (NSF) and $580 million for the National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST), two agencies who are actively involved in the development of nanomanufacturing research and infrastructure.   

 Additional allocations will directly impact the manufacturing industry.

  • The Advanced Battery Loan Guarantee and Grants Program will receive $2 billion to support U.S. Manufacturers of advanced vehicle batteries and battery systems.

Though there is still some concern over how rapidly this generous infusion of funding must be spent, the Sciences in general and manufacturing in particular have been targeted as drivers of a new American economy through this legislation. 

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