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Panel blasts federal nanotech risk research strategy
Date:12/10/2008

d team of top U.S. experts, echoes PEN experts' statements, analysis and research since 2005. PEN's work has extensively documented the need for a greatly improved government risk research strategy, more transparency and priority-setting in federal risk research funding, and a new mechanism for coordinating research.

The NRC document states that the NNI strategy "contains conflicting statements about the use of fiscal year 2006 research projects to evaluate research needs."

PEN experts have repeatedly stated that the risk-relevant research investment by the federal government was far less than the figures cited by the Bush administration. Most recently, PEN staff also developed federal risk-research funding options for moving forward (see: www.nanotechproject.org/ehsfunding/).

The new NRC report also echoes PEN's calls for an improved mechanism for conducting research. As many as 18 federal agencies -- including the Defense Department, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration -- are under the umbrella of the NNI's environment and health implications working group, making coordinating research a challenging task.

PEN testimony before the House Committee on Science and Technology in both 2007 and 2008 provided detailed recommendations for a new mechanism for organizing federal nanotechnology research that would improve coordination among agencies. The principal recommendation is to replace the current bottom-up collection of individual agency research agendas and budgets with a top-down, highly focused and fully-funded strategy that addresses the risk research priorities of a rapidly commercializing new technology.

"The NRC report explicitly says that the federal plan 'does not have the essential elements of a research strategy,'" Rejeski says. "That is if nothing else a clear sign that it is time for a new start."


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Contact: Colin Finan
colin.finan@wilsoncenter.org
202-691-4321
Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies
Source:Eurekalert

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