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Archive for the 'New Institutions' Category

New Nanotech Building for UCLA

Posted by Jim Lewis on August 13th, 2002

from the more-bucks-for-bricks-and-mortar dept.
From SmallTimes, New Building to House Nanotechnology Research at UCLA reports that "The University of California, Los Angeles, is getting a new state-of-the-art 180,000-square-foot Nanosystems building." The $70 million institute was funded through private corporate partners and the state of California and is targeted for completion in winter 2004. It will be "part of a larger Nanosystems Institute project with UCSB to build about 280,000 square feet of lab and office space between the two campuses."

$75.8M for Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies

Posted by Jim Lewis on August 9th, 2002

from the bucks-for-bricks-and-mortar dept.
waynerad writes "Sandia and Los Alamos national laboratories will jointly receive $75.8 million from the DOE for the design and construction of buildings to house the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies (CINT). The article says they will pursue the possibility for 'atoms-up engineering' in the long term, but the short-term goals are 'new ways to develop sensors, satellites, and security measures to support our nuclear deterrent'. Also have a look at the fact sheet."

NSF report highlights potential of emerging technologies

Posted by RichardTerra on July 9th, 2002

2012Rocky writes "From United Press International: Merged science promises golden age (UPI, July 08, 2002).

If several of today's leading scientific disciplines can overcome barriers to working cooperatively, within a couple of decades their efforts could produce concepts currently confined to science fiction, such as direct brain-to-brain communication, a National Science Foundation report released Monday predicts.

This article points out that the convergence of nano-, bio-, information technology and cognitive science could usher in a golden age for humanity. The 387 page pre-pub report goes in to much greater detail.
See the full report [a pre-publication on-line version]: Converging Technologies for Improving Human Performance"

Speakers at Brookhaven NT conclave advocate public-private alliances

Posted by RichardTerra on April 8th, 2002

An article on the Small Times website ("Speakers call for bridge-building between research and commerce", by Jack Mason, 27 March 2002) reports that "For nanotechnology to live up to its potential, leaders in the field say, something equally unparalleled must develop ñ a closer alliance between public and private sectors, as well as a shift toward cross-discipline research and education in universities." (Apparently the ST reporter on Long Island is not too familiar with the efforts of states like California, New York, Texas, and numerous others to do exactly that.) The article covers the comments of speakers to an audience of scientists, businesspeople and public officials who gathered at Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island in mid-March to hear industry researchers, professors and policy makers map nanotechnologyís future, as well as the role for Brookhavenís proposed nanocenter (see Nanodot post 22 March 2002).

U.S. House debates direction of national nanotech funding, policy

Posted by RichardTerra on March 30th, 2002

from the budget-battles dept.
An article in EE Times ("Science panel calls for balanced research spending", by George Leopold, 26 March 2002) reports on an increasing level of scrutiny of the Bush administrationís proposed funding priorities for science and technology spending in the U.S. national budget for FY2003, including nanotechnology. According to the article, "The House Science Committee is calling for increased federal funding in fiscal 2003 for technology research and development programs and for a balancing of funding for biomedical and physical science research."

In its annual "views and estimates" of the federal budget request, the Republican-controlled science panel said the Bush administration's research budget request is skewed heavily in support of biomedical research, especially at the National Institutes of Health, which is slated to receive an annual budget increase larger than the entire $5.04 billion budget requested for the National Science Foundation [NSF]. The committee endorsed the Bush administration's "multi-agency R&D" priorities for network and information technology, nanotechnology and anti-terrorism programs. The White House requested a 3 percent increase in funding for networking and information technology research. It also proposed a 17 percent increase in funding next year for nanotechnology research. The committee said it might address nanotechnology research in legislation later this year.

Additional coverage and analysis can be found on the American Institute of Physics (AIP) Science Policy website:

  • "Science Committee Questions Level, Balance of Federal Research Investment", by Audrey T. Leath, 22 February 2002. According to this report, "At a wide-ranging February 13 hearing on the President's FY 2003 budget request for R&D, House Science Committee members generally supported the budget's emphasis on anti-terrorism, homeland and economic security, and health research, but also indicated that they would try to find additional funds for science programs. As Chairman Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) said, the budget priorities are 'reasonable' and 'self-evident' and 'deserve to be funded more generously than are other programs.' But he added that 'the focusing of the proposed R&D budget on two narrowly defined priority areas [defense and health] has left the spending for other agencies anemic.' He later commented that if it were not for defense and national security needs, 'this committee collectively would be madder than hell, to put it bluntly,' at the funding levels for some parts of the science enterprise."
  • "Research Subcommittee, Witnesses Support Higher NSF Funding", again by Audrey T. Leath , 26 March 2002. According to this report, "[M]embers of the House Science Committee are already working to get funding for the National Science Foundation increased above the President's request of $5.04 billion. At a March 13 hearing of the House Science Subcommittee on Research, Science Committee Chairman Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) . . . told witnesses that he would use their testimony to make the case for higher NSF funding to appropriators. Research Subcommittee Chairman Nick Smith (R-MI) described how committee members were 'aggressive' in trying to get NSF funding increased in the House Budget Committee's version of a budget resolution. On that same day, the Budget Committee approved a resolution containing an 11 percent increase for NSF — 6 percent more than the Administration requested."

Some insight into the high level of support for the NSF and for nanotechnology research in particular can be found in a speech delivered on 8 March 2002 by House Science Committee Chair Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY) at a nanotechnology conference held at the Brookhaven National Laboratory to formally launched the Labís new $55 million Center for Functional Nanomaterials (see Nanodot post from 22 March 2002). Boehlert said, "I will do everything in my power to ensure that nanotechnology research gets the funding it deserves — not just in the Department of Energy [which operates the Brookhaven Lab] but throughout the federal government."
[Some excerpts from the speech also appear on the AIP site.]

Finally, for the minority Memberís views, see "An Analysis by the Minority Staff of the House Science Committee" from 5 February 2002.

Debate over these issues is also likely to arise in the U.S. Senate if, as planned, a bill on nanotechnology research funding sponsored by Senator Joe Leiberman and others is submitted (see Nanodot post from 27 December 2001).

NBA hopes to create regional, international hubs

Posted by RichardTerra on February 20th, 2002

from the self-replicating-organizations dept.
An article from United Press International ("Business group spreads word on nano", by Scott R. Burnell, 15 February 2002) profiles the NanoBusiness Alliance. According to the report, the industry group focusing on nanotechnology is establishing more than 20 regional offices this year to spur growth in the technology, with its first regional "hubs" to be set up in Washington, D.C. and Denver. The group expects to have about 25 hubs operating by year's end, in locations such as Boston, California's Silicon Valley, Israel and Canada.

EU formulates research budget for Sixth Framework Programme

Posted by RichardTerra on January 14th, 2002

from the World-Watch dept.
According to information on the website of CORDIS, the (European) Community Research and Development Information Service, the European Union Council of Research Ministers has approved a budget of about 16.3 billion euros (about US$15.6 billion) for scientific research and development under the EU Sixth Framework Programme, which will span the period from 2002 to 2006 . Of this, about 1.3 billion euros (US$1.2 billion) will be devoted to "nanotechnologies, intelligent materials, and new production processes". Some marginally useful materials regarding the nanotech portion of the programme are available on the CORDIS website. The budget is subject to approval by the EU Parliament and finance ministers.

A useful resource (though not updated very often) on EU nanotechnology activities is the Cordis web service on nanotechnology.

Nanotechnology policy and research in Canada

Posted by RichardTerra on January 11th, 2002

from the World-Watch dept.
While the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) and various state and regional programs in the U.S. tend to dominate the news from North America, there is a very significant and increasingly well-coordinated nanotechnology effort underway in Canada as well.

The primary source for current news about Canadian efforts can be found on the Nanotechnology home page of the Canadian National Research Council (NRC), which includes information about policy, government and industry research activities, and an extensive listing of nanotechnology work at Canadian universities.

The establishment of the Canadian National Institute for Nanotechnology (NINT) at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, part of the NRC system, was covered here on Nanodot on 15 November and 27 August 2001.

Some interesting historical background can be found in the policy discussion that led to the establishment of the NINT:

  • A National Workshop on Nanotechnology was held in Banff, Alberta (11-12 January 2001). A brief summary of the proceedings is available as an Acrobat PDF file, and the Welcoming Address and Closing Remarks by Peter Hackett, NRC Vice President for Research, are also available. Hacket also delivered some opening remarks at a follow-up Microsystems and Nanotechnology Workshop in Banf on 8 November 2001.
  • A brief report on the proccedings of a Workshop on Nanotechnology hosted by the Canadian Foundation for Innovation and funded by Candian federal agencies, held on 9 March 2001, discusses research opportunities and emerging research areas where Canadian researchers could be competitive and lead at the international level, and where this could have significant benefits for Canada. It also served to identify the infrastructure that will be needed by Canadian researchers.
  • If you read French, a pair of reports (undated, but apparently produced some time during 2001) on Les nanotechnologies – La maîtrise de l'infiniment petit (Nanotechnology: Mastering the infinitely small), issued by the provincial government of Quebec from the Conseil de la science et de la technologie (Science and Technology Council), are available as Acrobat PDF files. An English version of the executive summary is also available.

Brainstorming to prevent nanotech-based terrorism

Posted by RichardTerra on January 2nd, 2002

from the Applied-group-genius dept.
In his weekly column on technology and public policy for Tech Central Station, University of Tennessee law professor and Foresight Director Glenn Reynolds calls 2001 "the year that people started to get serious about the promises and dangers of nanotechnology" ("Preventing Nanoterror Now", 27 December 2001). Reynolds lauds recent efforts to envision ñ and therefore prevent — possible dangers from and misuse of molecular nanotechnology, such as the recent AAAS symposium that included a panel discussion on nanotech dangers that included Eric Drexler, and points to efforts such as the Foresight Guidelines for the safe development of nanotechnology.

But Reynolds goes on to suggest that policy makers need to do much more to develop a broad vision of potential nanotech threats. One possibility: "get together technical experts, leading science fiction writers, experts on terrorism, and some people who have thought about the social impacts of nanotechnology, and have them brainstorm on the kinds of threats that might emerge. From this, we could then move to a consideration of how to prevent those threats from becoming realities. . . . To broaden the idea base, we might also solicit suggestions from the general public", perhaps from web-based forums such as here on Nanodot. "I imagine that such an effort would yield thousands of ideas, from which experts could evaluate the best", says Reynolds. And he concludes:

"Where this powerful technology is concerned, a nanogram of prevention is worth a kilogram of cure. Letís start thinking about nanoterrorism now, while we have the luxury of time. Itís a luxury that wonít last forever."

Historical Interest: Transcript of 1999 U.S. House hearing

Posted by RichardTerra on December 27th, 2001

from the Blast-from-the-past dept.
Those of you with an interest in history may be interested in the transcript of the hearing held by the Subcommittee on Basic Research of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science on 22 June 1993. The transcript is available from the U.S. Government Printing Office website as an Adobe Acrobat PDF file. Caution: it weighs in at a whopping 5.7 Mb.

These hearings, titled "Nanotechnology: The State of Nano-Science and Its Prospects for the Next Decade", included testimony by Nobel laureate Richard Smalley of Rice University and nanotechnologist Ralph Merkle, then at Xerox PARC and now a researcher at Zyvex Corporation. The House hearings were held in response to an interagency workshop that called for establishment of an integrated federal program to support nanotech-oriented research and development efforts, and were important in solidifying support for the proposed U.S. National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI), which was then under consideration by the Clinton Administration. The NNI was formally presented as part of U.S. federal policy in February 2000 with the FY2001 budget request. NNI is now being funded at about $US 500 million annually.

UTD announces nanotech collaboration with Canada

Posted by RichardTerra on December 7th, 2001

from the World-Watch dept.
According to a press release (6 December 2001), the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) has agreed to explore ways to collaborate on nanotechnology research with the National Research Council (NRC) of Canada and the University of Alberta.
Following a Canadian trade mission to Dallas on 28 November headed by Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, UTD and Canadian officials signed a letter of intent to foster the exchange of scientific and technical knowledge about nanotechnology, identify opportunities for collaborative research and technology transfer and develop scientific and technical capabilities in nanotechnology applications in energy, computers and life sciences.

The University of Alberta was chosen in August 2001 as the host for the NRC National Institute for Nanotechnology (NINT), news of which was noted here on 27 August and 15 November 2001.

The agreement is similar to one reached last month between UTD and Jilin University in China, which also emphasized cooperative research and other academic efforts in the field of nanotechnology.

U.S. nanotech centers putting up web sites

Posted by RichardTerra on December 4th, 2001

The six new national Nanoscale Science and Engineering Centers (NSECs) established by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) in September 2001 have begun establishing their presence on the web. For more information about the research programs at the centers, visit the websites:

IPTS ponders security, identity in cyberspace

Posted by RichardTerra on December 4th, 2001

from the Virtual-identity-crisis dept.
The September 2001 issue (#57) of The IPTS Report which is published by the Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS), part of the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission, focuses on various issues related to security in cyberspace. Perhaps the most interesting article in the issue is one that deals with "Cyber-Security and the Future of Identity", presenting some interesting ideas about how one determines physical, digital, and virtual identities and how these relate to privacy, authentication and security.

MIT Media Lab to explore digital matter tools

Posted by RichardTerra on November 29th, 2001

According to a press release (27 November 2001), the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded $13.75 million to the the MIT Media Laboratory to create a Center for Bits and Atoms to explore how the content of information relates to its physical representation, from atomic nuclei to global networks. From the release:

"The center will bring nanofabrication, chemistry and biology labs together with rapid mechanical prototyping, electronic instrumentation and high-bay assembly workspaces. This integrated suite of resources is being developed to enable its researchers to shape simultaneously the information in a system and its physical embodiment, from microscopic to macroscopic scales. The NSF funding will help support research, education and outreach programs, as well as technological infrastructure. "

And:

"Among the challenges to be tackled will be developing "personal fabricators" to bring the malleability that personal computers provide for the digital world into the physical world; providing bidirectional molecular interfaces between computers and living systems; and bringing advanced information technologies to bear on some of the most intractable problems in global development and security."

Chinese Nanotech Funding Comparable to U.S.

Posted by RichardTerra on November 19th, 2001

RobertBradbury writes "Nature is reporting here that the Chinese Academy of Sciences has prompted the government into funding the construction of a new National Nanoscience Center in Beijing. The center is estimated to cost 250-500 million renminbi (yaun) (~8.3 renminbi/$). The overall Chinese funding for nanoscience is 2.5 billion renminbi for the next 5 years ($60 million/yr). If one considers the according to the CIA World Fact Book, the Chinese GDP per person is an order of magnitude less than that of the U.S. and according to this article, salries for skilled scientific workers range from $120-360/month (academic) to $960/month (commercial), that would suggest that labor costs in China are approximately an order of magnitude below those in the U.S. So the Chinese nanotechnology research effort may well be comparable in terms of the number of researchers funded to the U.S. National Nanotechnology Initiative!"

Examining the legal implications of nanotech

Posted by RichardTerra on August 1st, 2001

from the future-tense dept.
An interesting and wide-ranging article on the legal and ethical implications of molecular nanotechnology ("At nanoscale, the laws of humans may not apply", by Michael Becker, 30 July 2001) appears on the SmallTimes website. The article includes extensive quotes from Robert A. Freitas Jr., author of Nanomedicine and a research scientist at Zyvex Corp.; and Glenn Reynolds, a Foresight Institute Director and professor of law at the University of Tennessee. The piece raises some of the thorny issues on regulating new technologies, intellectual property, open source development models, and others.

UN commission sets guidelines for GMOs

Posted by RichardTerra on July 10th, 2001

from the political-science dept.
An article from United Press International ("World guidelines set up for genetically modified food", by J. Zarocostas, 6 July 2001) reports officials from 165 countries agreed during a meeting in Geneva of the international food standards organization on the first formal set of global guidelines for risk assessment of foods derived from genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The commission concluded that GMOs foods should be tested and approved before they enter the market and stressed in particular should be tested for their potential to cause allergic reactions. However, the meeting failed to reach an accord on the contentious issue of GMO labeling because of continued differences between major members such as the European Union and the United States.

Nanotechnology and Societal Transformation

Posted by RichardTerra on June 25th, 2001

from the preparing-for-the-future dept.
A paper on "Nanotechnology and Societal Transformation" by Michael M. Crow and Daniel Sarewitz appears on the Center for Science, Policy, and Outcomes (CSPO) website. The authors conclude:
"Should nanoscience and nanotechnology yield even a small proportion of their anticipated advances, the impacts on society will be far-reaching and profound . . . We can allow these transformations to surprise and overwhelm us, and perhaps even threaten the prospects for further progress. Or we can choose to be smart about preparing for, understanding, responding to, and even managing the coming changes, in order to enhance the benefits, and reduce the disruption and dislocation, that must accompany any revolution."

The paper was presented at the workshop on the Societal Implications of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology sponsored by the U.S. National Science and Technology Councilís Subcommittee on Nanoscale Science, Engineering and Technology (NSET) in September 2000.

CSPO to examine nanotechnology and society

Posted by RichardTerra on June 20th, 2001

from the ambitious-projects dept.
The Center for Science, Policy, and Outcomes (CSPO) has chosen to focus on the societal impacts of nanotechnology as one of the projects in its program examining the public value of science for enhancing the benefits of new knowledge and innovation.
According to a very brief note on the CSPO website, "CSPO's Nanotechnology and Society Project will integrate social impacts research with nanotechnology research to create better linkages between research agendas and desired societal outcomes. The project will develop tools and methods to map and assess the societal implications of nanoscale science and engineering; enhance awareness of societal implications among both the public and the S&T community; and develop processes that can support actual scientific and societal decision making about the direction and application of nanotechnology."

NSET releases report on societal implications of nanotechnology

Posted by RichardTerra on April 20th, 2001

from the NSETting-the-agenda dept.
The U.S. National Science and Technology Councilís Subcommittee on Nanoscale Science, Engineering and Technology (NSET) has released a 280-page report detailing the presentations from a workshop on the Societal Implications of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, which was held at the National Science Foundation in Washington, D.C., 28-29 September 2000. NSET is the coordinating body for the U.S. National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI).

The workshop report includes a comparative survey of the current studies on societal implications (knowledge and education, technological, economic, medical, environmental, cultural, ethical, legal, cultural, risks, etc.) of advances in nanoscience and nanotechnology, as well as an examination of vision and alternative pathways for the future over short (3-5 years), medium (5-15 years) and long-term (over 20 years) horizons. The report also makes recommendations for research and education programs. The workshop and any follow-on activities are part of the NNI.

The full report is available as an Adobe Acrobat PDF file (2.5 MB).