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Nanoinformatics 2011 Supports Updated NNI EHS Research Strategy

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The responsible development of nanotechnology has an impact across essentially all economic sectors, including advanced manufacturing. As core research areas of the recently released 2011 National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Research Strategy include a nanomaterials measurement infrastructure, as well as informatics and modeling, it has become evident that efforts must be established to develop consistency in materials characterization between different laboratories, and develop a means to catalogue the data with as much meaningful, consistent information as possible. In this context, the National Nanomanufacturing Network  (NNN) hosted Nanoinformatics 2010 in order to bring together the key stakeholders from academic centers, government laboratories, and regulatory agencies to begin to lay the groundwork for a concerted national roadmap in Nanoinformatics.  Nanoinformatics 2010 was designed to survey the landscape, generate a roadmap, and stimulate collaborative activities in the area of nanoinformatics. The primary outcome of this workshop was the Nanoinformatics 2020 Roadmap (released April 2011), which was jointly authored by leaders in the nanoinformatics community of practice. Responding to the call for roadmaps in the National Nanotechnology Initiative Strategic Plan, it is the first broad-based community effort to articulate the comprehensive needs and goals in nanoinformatics. The development and widespread adoption of advanced nanoinformatics capabilities that accelerate responsible research, development, and deployment of nanotechnology–driven by the expertise and momentum of the R&D community and enabled by the agencies that support it—is the ultimate goal  of the Nanoinformatics 2020 Roadmap.

The Roadmap identifies short-term actions proposed by 2010 workshop participants as building blocks for the robust system of nanoinformatics they envision. Specifically, it proposes seven pilot projects addressing objectives articulated at the workshop in the areas of community engagement, metadata and standards, and tool development:  Nanomaterials data consortium, Nanomaterials data gaps workshops, Meta-ontology, Minimum information recommendations, Metacrawler, Nano structure-activity relationship education and dissemination, and Simulation challenge. These fast-moving pilots—to be conducted in one to five years—are designed to offer catalytic solutions to technical and cultural barriers of practice; to execute proof-of-concept projects that will inform more systematic development of tools and standards; and to nurture the spirit of collaboration and cooperation that is evident among the nanoinformatics community of experts.  A few of these pilots have advanced over the last year, while others are not yet active.

The NNN is pleased to host Nanoinformatics 2011, to be held December 7-9 in Arlington, VA. Nanoinformatics 2011 will bring together informatics experts, nanotechnology researchers, and other stakeholders and potential contributors to advance Nanoinformatics 2020 Roadmap goals. December 7-8 will feature nanoinformatics presentations on a variety of topics as well as focused talks on the conference themes, Quantitative Structure Activity Relationships and Minimum Required Characteristics. December 9th will be a working day where feedback and ideas on the Nanoinformatics 2020 Roadmap from meeting attendees will be especially welcome.

Keynote talks will be given by Christian Lehinger (CEO of HealthQuest Alliance), Gerhard Klimeck (Associate Director for Technologies of the Network for Computational Nanotechnology, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Purdue University), and Deborah Gracio ( Director for the Computational and Statistical Analytics Division, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory). The complete program is available here.

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