The OSTP has provided updated information noting two efforts by the Obama administration related to materials. This includes the older Materials Genome Initiative and the newer Critical Materials Initiative (a Department of Energy program). Other efforts from the Obama administration in connecting technology and economic policy include the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership. The Materials Genome Initiative is now about a year and a half old (dating back to the first Obama term), so 2013 will be an important year to see where it is going. The Critical Materials Initiative is announced as a new, post-election effort and appears to focus on the shortage of rare earth metals and lithium and clean energy industry. Hopefully, fiscal cliff and budget haggles will not slow progress in these arenas.
PCAST recently submitted a very interesting, readable, and searchable report to the OSTP on federal policy for the future of basic research funding and commercialization (124 page pdf). Nanotechnology was mentioned on page 22 as an example of benefits of basic research including its influence on energy:
“-Nanotechnology research, on the heels of coordinated Federal investment, is leading to advances in areas such as new drug delivery systems, more resilient materials and fabrics, safer and more effective industrial catalysts, faster computer chips, and sustainable development in water and energy resources.”
Nanotechnology also appeared on page 45 with respect to discussion of university “proof-of-concept” centers:
“-The (MIT) Deshpande Center supports emerging technologies, including biotechnology, biomedical devices, information technology, new materials, nanotechnology, and energy innovations. It sponsors a grant program, a catalyst (mentor) program, innovation teams (i-Teams), and events.”
Finally, nanotechnology was mentioned on page 80 with respect to attracting researchers from abroad to come to the U.S.
Commercialization, patents, and technology transfer are important themes mentioned throughout. Nanotechnology is but one of a variety of “labels” used to describe sectors of research for policy analysis. Nanotechnology integrates closely with many of these other “labels.” Hopefully, its importance will not be lost in the integration.
The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) recently announced updates with the Materials Genonme Initiative (MGI). $25M in grants are noted, and the awardees include universities, national laboratories, and private sector companies (e.g., GM). Collaboration continues to be a strong theme.
Collaboration usually sounds good and makes sense in many contexts, particularly for purely basic research with long-term visions. However, collaborations can also generate complicated intellectual property and patent issues. For shorter term research with commercial applications as a goal, this can become a problem if not managed well. Hopefully, the MGI is considering this aspect of this new, exciting commercialization program. The MGI is now about 1 1/2 years old. The MGI has many close links to nanotechnology and the NNI (National Nanotechnology Initiative) including a program for predicting the properties of nanomaterials. Hopefully, the MGI is well and efficiently integrated with the NNI.
Also, hopefully 2013 budget issues do not slow down the MGI. Stay tuned.
The Materials Genome Initiative received a boost this week when the OSTP (Office of Science Technology Policy) announced important updates. Several of these relate directly to nanotechnology.
For example, the NNI (National Nanotechnology Initiative) has now set fourth its fourth signature initiative, called Nanotechnology Knowledge Infrastructure (NKI). A key aspect of NKI is predicting the properties of nanomaterials. The prior three initiatives related to nanomanufacturing, nanosolar, and nanoelectronics.
In addition, Lockheed Martin is leading a new carbon nanostructure consortium.
Hopefully, concrete action will flow from these important updates, in contrast to mere “bureaucratic shuffling” or “talking for the sake of talking.” Private sector involvement, reflected in the Lockheed work, is critical. Good to see executive action (or at least action from the executive branch). More information can be found in this link and also this other link.
Did you know the federal government has spent $14 billion on nanotech since 2001 via the NNI? As noted recently by InformationWeek, the government (OSTP) now wants to hear your ideas on how best to push into the future with nanotech. OSTP expresses particular interest in how nanotech can facilitate cleantech, while at the same time we also manage environmental, health, and safety risks associated with nanotech.
In other words, what’s the best way to spend the next $14 billion?!
Submissions are due 11:59 EDT on August 15, 2010. Send to NNIStrategy@ostp.gov.
Thanks to Foley’s Antoinette Konski for this alert.
See below for more information.