Your commission is an important one. It is appreciated by U.S. scientists and engineers who, like you, believe it is essential to separate "the hype and hypothetical from the reality" of this exciting field of discovery.
As you know, NSF is the largest federal funding source for U.S. academic nanotechnology research. My agency leads the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI), involving an annual federal investment of approximately $800 million and 17 federal departments and independent agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Agriculture and National Institutes of Health. I also chair the U.S. National Science and Technology Council's subcommittee on Nanoscale Science, Engineering and Technology (NSET). NSF has sponsored the conference on "Societal Implications of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology" in September 2000 (see www.nsf.gov/nano or directly www.nsf.gov/home/crssprgm/nano/nsfnnireports.htm). The NSET will held another conference on societal implications of nanotechnology in December 2003.
Since the NNI was first established, we have invested heavily in fundamental
research, education, and nanotech facilities. We also have funded research to
explore the societal implications of nanoscience and nanotechnology, and to
examine its environmental and health impacts. Our current priorities include
nanobiosystems, research to enable efficient nanoscale
manufacturing, and the education and training of the next generation workforce.
Again, I wish you great success with this endeavor.
Dr. Mihail C. Roco
Senior Advisor for Nanotechnology
National Science Foundation
Chair, National Science and Technology Council's subcommittee on
Nanoscale Science, Engineering and Technology (NSET) , www.nano.gov