Public meeting Jan. 4 on research priorities on EHS aspects of engineered nanoscale materials

Public meeting on research needs and priorities on environmental, health, and safety aspects of engineered nanoscale materials to be held Jan. 4 in Arlington, Va.

The Nanoscale Science, Engineering, and Technology (NSET) Subcommittee of the National Science and Technology Council's Committee on Technology is holding a public meeting on Thursday, January 4, 2007 in Arlington, Va., to receive input on research needs related to the environmental, health, and safety (EHS) aspects of engineered nanoscale materials. The NSET Subcommittee is looking for input on the research needs and prioritization criteria for the research identified in Environmental, Health, and Safety Research Needs for Engineered Nanoscale Materials document released by the NSET Subcommittee on September 21, 2006. The report is available at www.nano.gov.

The public is invited to participate through oral presentations at the meeting or through written submissions sent electronically to the conference registration Web site at www.nano.gov/public_ehs.html.

Content of the meeting will be primarily organized around subject areas, including research prioritization criteria and the five research areas identified in the Environmental, Health, and Safety Research Needs for Engineered Nanoscale Materials document: Instrumentation, Metrology, and Analytical Methods; Nanomaterials and Human Health; Nanomaterials and the Environment; Health and Environmental Surveillance; and Risk Management Methods. Speakers are requested to indicate which of the subject areas they plan to address. Topics outside of those identified areas above also will be considered.

All comments and recommendations made at the meeting or in written submissions will be considered by the NSET Subcommittee in prioritizing EHS research needs. Input from multiple stakeholders with various interests will be valuable to the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI), especially with regard to strategic and interim goals for filling the EHS information needs gaps for engineered nanoscale materials. The NSET Subcommittee and NNI member agencies plan to make the priority-setting process dynamic, open, and transparent.

The NSET Subcommittee coordinates planning, budgeting, and program implementation and review to ensure a balanced and comprehensive National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI). The NSET Subcommittee is composed of representatives from agencies participating in the NNI. The National Nanotechnology Coordination Office provides technical and administrative support to the NSET Subcommittee in its work and is the coordinator for the January 4 public meeting.

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The NNI agencies have funded EHS research since 2001 and funding levels are increasing annually. In 2005, approximately $35 million was devoted to research whose primary purpose is to understand and address potential risks to health and the environment posed by this technology. The estimated investment in this research for 2006 is $38 million, and the President's 2007 budget request calls for increasing the amount to $44 million. These figures do not include instrumentation and metrology and much of the basic research on characteristics of nanomaterials that must be developed in order to support toxicology, monitoring, and control efforts. The Government also is investing significantly in these fields of inquiry.


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