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October 16, 2022

White House OSTP and NNCO Mark National Nanotechnology Day 2022

Lynn L. Bergeson Carla N. Hutton

On October 7, 2022, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office (NNCO) made key announcements intended to advance the Biden Administration’s efforts “to leverage the promise of science and technology to benefit all Americans.” They also complement the Administration’s ongoing Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) and Science Act implementation efforts “that will ensure the United States remains a world leader in the industries of tomorrow.” The announcements include:

  • Nano4EARTH: NNCO announced the inaugural National Nanotechnology Challenge, Nano4EARTH. Nano4EARTH will leverage recent investments in understanding and controlling matter at the nanoscale to develop technologies and industries that address climate change. Nano4EARTH recognizes the role nanotechnology plays in: evaluating, monitoring, and detecting climate change status and trends; averting future greenhouse gas emissions; removing existing greenhouse gases; training and educating a highly skilled workforce to harness nanotechnology solutions; and developing higher resilience to, and mitigation of, climate change-induced pressures for improved societal/economic resilience. Members of the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) community — the scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, and government leaders developing solutions at the nanoscale — are invited to participate in Nano4EARTH. The Nano4EARTH kickoff workshop (to be held in early 2023) will serve as an information-gathering exercise to identify key feasible outputs of the challenge and effective ways to measure success.
  • NNCO Leadership: OSTP and NNCO announced Dr. Branden Brough as the new Director of NNCO and Dr. Quinn Spadola as its Deputy Director. Dr. Brough joins NNCO from the Molecular Foundry, a U.S. Department of Energy-funded nanoscale science research center that provides users from around the world with access to cutting-edge expertise and instrumentation. He will also serve as OSTP’s Assistant Director for Nanotechnology. Dr. Spadola was the Associate Director of Education for the National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure (NNCI), a network of open nanotechnology laboratory user facilities supported by the National Science Foundation, and the Director of Education and Outreach for the Southeastern Nanotechnology Infrastructure Corridor NNCI site at the Georgia Institute of Technology.