Understanding the NNI Framework for Responsible Development and Use of Nanomaterials

S. Tinkle
National Nanotechnology Coordination Office, US

Keywords: NNI, Nanomaterials

Summary:

The National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) was established in 2000 as the Federal Government’s multiagency, multidisciplinary research and development (R&D) program to promote nanotechnology innovation and economic benefit. Poised at the start of its second decade, the Federal Agencies participating in the NNI have developed new documents and processes to accelerate nanotechnology R&D. The new 2011 NNI Strategic Plan lays out guidance for agency leaders, program managers, and the research community regarding planning and implementation of nanotechnology R&D investments and activities. The goals of the NNI are fourfold: (1) to advance a world-class nanotechnology R&D program; (2) to foster the transfer of new technologies into products for commercial and public benefit; (3) to develop and sustain educational resources, a skilled workforce, and the supporting infrastructure and tools to advance nanotechnology; and (4) to support responsible development of nanotechnology. Environmental, health, and safety (EHS) research is essential to successful achievement of all four NNI goals; however, it is most closely linked to Goal 4 of Responsible Development. The NNI agencies collaboratively developed a nanotechnology EHS research strategy that focuses on the use of science-based risk analysis and risk management to protect public health and the environment while also fostering the technological advancements that benefit society. This strategy provides guidance to the Federal agencies as they develop their agency-specific nanotechnology EHS research priorities, implementation plans, and timelines. The goal of this coordinated research effort is to provide the information necessary to regulatory agencies to perform risk assessments that protect public health and the environment and support the beneficial use of nanotechnology.