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September 9, 2019

President’s 2020 Budget Requests More Than $1.4 Billion for NNI

Lynn L. Bergeson Carla N. Hutton

On August 30, 2019, the National Nanotechnology Initiative published its supplement to the President’s 2020 budget request.  The supplement serves as NNI’s annual report required under the 21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act and addresses the requirement for U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) reporting on its nanotechnology investments.  According to NNI, the President’s 2020 budget requests more than $1.4 billion for NNI, “a continued investment in basic research, early-stage applied research, and technology transfer efforts that are leading to the breakthroughs of the future.”  Since the inception of NNI in 2001, and including the 2020 request, NNI has received almost $29 billion in support, reflecting “the continued importance of investments that advance our fundamental understanding of and ability to control matter at the nanoscale, as well as the translation of that knowledge into technological breakthroughs that serve the American people.”

The President’s 2020 budget supports nanoscale science, engineering, and technology research and development (R&D) at 11 agencies.  The five federal organizations with the largest investments (representing 96 percent of the total) are:

  • S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)/National Institutes of Health (NIH) (nanotechnology-based biomedical research at the intersection of life and physical sciences);
  • National Science Foundation (NSF) (fundamental research and education across all disciplines of science and engineering);
  • S. Department of Energy (DOE) (fundamental and applied research providing a basis for new and improved energy technologies);
  • DOD (science and engineering research advancing defense and dual-use capabilities); and
  • S. Department of Commerce (DOC)/National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) (fundamental research and development of measurement and fabrication tools, analytical methodologies, metrology, and standards for nanotechnology).

The supplement presents budget information and highlights of agency plans and priorities by Program Component Area (PCA).  It includes examples of progress toward the four NNI goals:

  1. Advance a world-class nanotechnology R&D program;
  2. Foster the transfer of new technologies into products for commercial and public benefit;
  3. Develop and sustain educational resources, a skilled workforce, and a dynamic infrastructure and tool set to advance nanotechnology; and
  4. Support responsible development of nanotechnology.