Nanotechnology Advancement and New Opportunities Act (HR 4865, 114th Congress)
What it does
Ensures the development and responsible stewardship of nanotechnology.
HR 4865, the Nanotechnology Advancement and New Opportunities Act of 2016, would ensure the development and responsible stewardship of nanotechnology. This bill directs the Department of Commerce, if $100 million is made available from the private sector for establishing a Nano-manufacturing Investment Partnership, to establish such a Partnership to provide funding for pre-commercial nano-manufacturing research and development projects.
The bill establishes guidelines for the development and oversight of nano-manufacturing partnerships, the creation of STEM education and training opportunities, and research funding to be awarded on merit-based review of research proposals. The funding allocation agencies that were named responsible for these research grant reviews include the Department of Energy (DOE), the National Science Foundation, and the Environmental Protection agency (EPA). The National Nanotechnology Coordination Office will be required to transmit a nanotechnology research strategy establishing priorities for the federal government and industry. Additionally, the bill amends the Internal Revenue Code to allow a tax credit for the purchase of qualified nanotechnology developer stock. Further, the DOE will be expected to transmit to Congress a strategy for increasing interaction on nanotechnology issues between scientists and engineers at DOE National Laboratories and in the informal science education community.
Nanoscale objects are many thousands-of-times smaller than the unaided human eye can see. Nanoscience crosscuts all fields of the physical sciences, including chemistry, biology, physics, materials science, and engineering. Nanotechnology is a combination of technology and nanoscience, which studies the fundamental nature of nanoscale materials.
It is expected that by 2020, the worldwide annual economy derived from nanotechnology will be $3 trillion and will employ an estimated six million people. Of those amounts, the United States will account for $1 trillion of the economy and two million of the jobs. Thus, an investment of $100 million dollars is expected to have a return of 1000 percent.
Lynn L. Bergeson is a Managing Partner with Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.
Endorsements & Opposition
The Nanotechnology Industries Association (NIA) actively works for nanomaterial safety by participation in global fora like the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The NIA believes in the “[p]romotion of science- and technology-based support for the safe and reliable advance and commercialisation of nanotechnologies […]. Particularly important in achieving this is advanced cooperation both within the industrial community and between all stakeholders of nanotechnologies, in order to ultimately secure the societal and environmental benefits of nanotechnology.”
According to David Koepsell in "The Morality of Risk: A Primer", as a society “[w]e are interested in promoting beneficial technologies, which nanotechnology certainly promises to be, and doing so in ways that are efficient, innovative, and ethical. At the same time, we must also consider how much and what type of regulation is warranted regarding this new technology. Regulation can be proactive and supportive of innovation through incentives. Some regulation can have a negative impact by imposing restrictions on researchers. Governments can spur research with funding or inhibit it through laws.” An overall opposition to governmental regulatory assistance to both the stewardship and development of nanotechnologies may be summed up in the opinion of Koepsell that “the extent of governmental regulation of private activities ought to be low or nonexistent. Free markets ought to be encouraged both for ideas and economics.”