The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is requesting input on "Nanotechnology-Inspired Grand Challenges for the Next Decade." The Request for Information (RFI) calls for suggestions from external stakeholders about grand challenges that harness nanoscience and nanotechnology to solve important national or global problems. The challenges must also be relevant to the mission of one or more of the agencies participating in the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI). Responses must be received by July 16, 2015, to be considered.
There are currently 20 participating agencies that work with the NNI, a U.S. government research and development initiative focused on nanotechnology-related activities. Through this initiative, scientists, educators, and other stakeholders work collectively to build a future "in which the ability to understand and control matter at the nanoscale leads to a revolution in technology and industry," according to the White House. Some examples of potential grand challenges suggested within the RFI include:
Increasing the five-year survival rates by 50% for the most difficult to treat cancers by 2025.
Creating devices no bigger than a grain of rice that can sense, compute, and communicate without wires or maintenance for 10 years, enabling an "internet of things" revolution.
Manufacturing atomically precise materials with fifty times the strength of aluminum at half the weight and the same cost.
Reducing the cost of turning sea water into drinkable water by a factor of four.
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) strongly encourages its members and other relevant stakeholders to submit their ideas in response to the OSTP RFI. ANSI has been committed to nanotechnology development for more than a decade through its Nanotechnology Standards Panel (ANSI-NSP), a cross-sector coordinating body focused on facilitating the development of standards in the areas of nanotechnology, and the ANSI-accredited U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Technical Committee 229 on Nanotechnologies. Administered by ANSI, the U.S. TAG to ISO TC 229 is responsible for developing and advancing U.S. positions to the ISO committee in the areas terminology and nomenclature; measurement and instrumentation, including specifications for reference materials; test methodologies; modelling and simulation; and science-based health, safety, and environmental practices.
Both ANSI-NSP and the U.S. TAG have had longstanding working relationships with federal agencies involved in the NNI and its coordination body, the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office (NNCO). Former NNCO Director Dr. Clayton Teague is past Chair of both the ANSI-NSP and the U.S. TAG to ISO/TC 229 while Dr. Ajit Jillavenkatesa of NIST currently serves as NSP co-Chair. The ANSI-NSP and the U.S. TAG continue to collaborate with the government on issues of high visibility within the nanotechnology community. To find out more about these efforts,
For more information on the ANSI-NSP or the U.S. TAG, contact Heather Benko, ANSI's senior manager of nanotechnology standardization activities (firstname.lastname@example.org, 212.642.4912).