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October 13, 2020

NSET Subcommittee Seeks Input on 2021 NNI Strategic Plan

Lynn L. Bergeson Carla N. Hutton

On October 13, 2020, the Nanoscale Science, Engineering and Technology (NSET) Subcommittee published a request for information to inform the development of the 2021 National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) Strategic Plan.  85 Fed. Reg. 64535.  According to the Subcommittee, a restructuring of the NNI is under consideration.  The Subcommittee seeks response to the following questions to identify effective mechanisms, strategies for communication, and priority topics to inform the future directions of the NNI:


  • What is your understanding of how the federal government has supported the nanotechnology community since the launch of the NNI?
  • How should this support evolve into 2030 and beyond? What mechanisms and programs are necessary to support the broad NNI research and development (R&D) portfolio?
  • What key elements and intersections are necessary to form an agile framework that will enable response to new developments along the nanotechnology continuum, from discovery and design to development and deployment?
  • How can the government engage effectively with stakeholders in industry and academia to advance nanotechnology research, development, and eventual commercialization? What are some best practices for this kind of engagement?
  • How could public-private partnerships contribute to progress towards the NNI goals? Are there any examples (domestic or international) of productive partnership mechanisms that should be considered as a model?
  • What are exemplary models (domestic or international) for accessing NNI resources, including user facilities and laboratories?


  • How can the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office (NNCO) facilitate communication and collaboration throughout the nanotechnology R&D ecosystem to enhance research and ultimately commercialization? How can the NNI/NNCO best communicate opportunities, resources, and advancements to the community?  How can the NNI/NNCO best engage with the stakeholder community to understand their advancements and needs?
  • Beyond the media platforms used by NNCO, what additional means should be considered to reach better the public and various stakeholder groups?
  • What are effective strategies for improving communication of desired nanotechnology workforce skills and capabilities between industry and academia?
  • How can the NNI participating agencies or NNCO best raise awareness among teachers regarding the educational resources that have been developed over the past 20 years and help get these resources into their classrooms?


  • What are the high priority open scientific questions in nanoscience and nanotechnology?
  • What are challenges facing the United States and the world where nanotechnology is poised to make significant contributions?
  • What nanotechnology-enabled “moonshots” should be considered?
  • How does nanotechnology support other foundational fields/initiatives? What future technical topics are likely to emerge from advancements in nanotechnology?
  • What are the gaps in the fabrication, characterization, and modeling and simulation tools available through the NNI user facilities (listed on What other tools are necessary to conduct nanotechnology R&D?
  • What specific nanotechnology topics could be accelerated to commercialization by public-private partnerships?
  • As concepts surrounding responsible development have evolved over the past 20 years, what factors may contribute to the responsible development of nanotechnology going forward?

Responses are due November 9, 2020.