National Nanotechnology Initiative: Leading to the Next Industrial Revolution

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release January 21, 2000


President Clinton's FY 2001 budget request includes a $227 million (84%) increase in the government's investment in nanotechnology research and development. The Administration is making this major new initiative, called the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI), a top priority. The emerging fields of nanoscience and nanoengineering -- the ability to manipulate and move matter - are leading to unprecedented understanding of the fundamental building blocks of all physical things. These developments are likely to change the way almost everything -- from vaccines to computers to automobile tires to objects not yet imagined -- is designed and made.

The initiative, which nearly doubles the investment over FY 2000 will strengthen scientific disciplines and create critical interdisciplinary opportunities. Agencies participating in NNI include the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Defense (DOD), the Department of Energy (DOE), National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Roughly 70% of the new funding proposed under the NNI will go to university-based research, which will help meet the growing demand for workers with nanoscale science and engineering skills. Many of these research goals may take 20 or more years to achieve, but that is precisely why there is an important role for the Federal government.

Funding by Agency:

  FY 2000 ($M) FY 2001 ($M) Percent Increase
National Science Foundation $97M $217M 124%
Department of Defense $70M $110M 57%
Department of Energy $58M $96M 66%
NASA $4M $20M 400%
Department of Commerce $8M $18M 125%
National Institutes of Health $32M $36M 13%
TOTAL $270M $497M 84%

Nanotechnology is the new frontier and its potential impact is compelling: This initiative establishes Grand Challenges to fund interdisciplinary research and education teams, including centers and networks, that work for major, long-term objectives. Some of the potential breakthroughs that may be possible include:

The NNI Investment Strategy:

This initiative builds upon previous and current nanotechnology programs, including some early investment from some of the participating agencies. The research strategy listed below is balanced across the following mechanisms: fundamental research, grantchallenges, centers and networks of excellence, research infrastructure, as well as ethical, legal and social implications and workforce programs. This initiative will initially support five kind of activities:

Funding by NNI Research Portfolio:
(FY 2001)

Grand Challenges Centers
of Excellence
Legal, and
Implications and
$195M $110M $77M $87M $28M $497M

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