Government Funding for Nanotechnology Research Labs - dummies

Government Funding for Nanotechnology Research Labs

By Earl Boysen, Nancy C. Muir, Desiree Dudley, Christine Peterson

In the United States, the federal government provides significant funding for nanotechnology development through the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI), as well as individual federal agencies. One of the areas of focus of the NNI and its associated agencies is the establishment of more than 60 nanotechnology research and education centers.

These centers also provide facilities to users such as companies or researchers, sparing them the cost of purchasing high-price equipment to move along their nano-based product development.

In another example, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science has created five facilities called Nanoscale Science Research Centers. These centers are located in National Labs scattered around the country: Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois; Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York State; Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California; Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tennessee; and Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico.

The goal of these facilities is to encourage the development and characterization of new nanomaterials. Each research center has a number of focus areas that draws upon the expertise and equipment of the National Lab where they are located.

Some groups target certain aspects of nanotechnology development. The Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology (CNST) NanoFab facility in Maryland is part of the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Their mission is to solve nanoscale measurement problems that can hamper the progress of nanotechnology research.

Government funding is key to the intricate network of nanotechnology research and development. In the United States, federal funding leads the way, but individual states are also involved. For example, the Pennsylvania NanoMaterials Commercialization Center supports nanomaterials research and development by Pennsylvania companies and individuals, making grants to universities and companies focused on materials development. Several more states, such as Washington and California, also have nano funding efforts in place.