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sexta-feira, 29 de maio de 2015

NIOSH and P3NANO sign MOU to advance knowledge of cellulose-based nanotechnology

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Partnership to Advance Research and Guidance for Occupational Safety and Health in Nanotechnology (P3NANO). 

The partnership between NIOSH and P3NANO will serve as a platform for occupational safety and health research as well as educational and business initiatives leading to the development of new risk management guidance, recommendations, and findings relating to the potential human health impacts of exposure to nanoscale cellulose materials.“NIOSH is pleased and excited to be able to partner with P3Nano in the early stages of the development of cellulose nanomaterials. 

Safe and responsible development of nanotechnology is a national priority and collaborations such as this create an opportunity to generate knowledge and practices that will facilitate that critical responsibility," said Chuck Geraci, PhD, CIH, NIOSH associate director for nanotechnology.Since 2012, NIOSH has been involved in nanoscale cellulose research and field work. As part of the partnership established by this MOU, P3Nano will collaborate with NIOSH to provide a platform for the discovery and dissemination of fundamental knowledge in the emerging interdisciplinary fields of cellulose-based nanotechnology, including nanomanufacturing. This effort will lead to the joint development of effective occupational safety and health guidance.

The P3nano collaboration will offer greater opportunity for the application of life cycle assessment to explore the long-term societal and environmental implication of large-scale production and use of cellulose-based nanomaterials. P3Nano offers NIOSH an affiliation with its partners and grant recipients, through whom collaborative research efforts will improve basic understanding of occupational health implication of cellulose-based nanomaterials, contribute to guidelines and industrial best practices for working with cellulose-based nanomaterials, and generate new findings and recommendations for stakeholders.

P3NANO is a public-private partnership that aims to advance the knowledge base for nanoscale forms of cellulose to overcome market barriers to commercialization, including a specific focus on environmental health and safety (EHS) as it relates to workplace safety, product and application safety demonstration, and environmental issues.

Fonte: NanoWerk

New standards will help educate present and future Nanotechnology Workforces

Os alunos sendo treinados para usar um microscópio eletrônico de varredura

ASTM International recently published two standards that will educate existing and future workers in nanotechnology. Educators will use the new standards to develop and refine curricula at the undergraduate level. At the same time, industries and businesses may use the standards as a basis for hiring new graduates as well as for upgrading skills of current employees.

The Nanotechnology Applications and Career Knowledge (NACK) Network initiated the development of the new standards (E2996, Guide for Workforce Education in Nanotechnology Health and Safety; and E3001, Practice for Workforce Education in Nanotechnology Characterization). 

NACK’s mission is to help create and sustain economically viable nanotechnology education at community and four-year colleges and at universities. NACK is helping to develop a series of nanotechnology education standards through ASTM Committee E56 on Nanotechnology. Two key NACK Network stakeholders are Pennsylvania State University, which is the home of the NACK Network, and the NSF ATE (Advanced Technology Education) Program, which is the government organization that funds the NACK Network.

“The goal is to define a set of foundational standards for nanotechnology workforce education at the undergraduate level. This will promote uniformity in the qualifications of graduates to meet both industry and academic needs,” says ASTM member Raymond Tsui, Ph.D., a faculty associate in the School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering at Arizona State University, a partner in the NACK Network.

E2996 provides a basic educational structure in the health and safety aspects of nanotechnology, describing the minimum knowledge base needed for an individual involved in nanomanufacturing or nanomaterials research. E2996 was developed through Subcommittee E56.03 on Environment, Health and Safety.  

E3001 establishes the basic structure for education in the characterization of nanoscale materials at the undergraduate level. E3001 was created through Subcommittee E56.02 on Physical and Chemical Characterization.

These two standards are flexible enough to be tailored to regional industry needs, while retaining a high degree of equivalency in educational depth and breadth across geographical boundaries. 

With support from the NACK Network, E56 plans to develop additional education standards, as well as an overarching standard that unites them. These standards will fall under the jurisdiction of the newly formed ASTM Subcommittee E56.07 on Education and Workforce Development. All interested parties are encouraged to join in the work of this new subcommittee.

To purchase standards, visit and search by the standard designation, or contact ASTM Customer Relations (tel +1.877.909.ASTM; ASTM welcomes participation in the development of its standards. Become a member at

For more news in this sector, visit

ASTM Committee E56 on Nanotechnology Next Meeting: Nov. 16-17, 2015, November Committee Week, Tampa, Fla.
Media Inquiries: Nathan Osburn, tel +1.610.832.9603;
Technical Contacts: (E2996) Robert Ehrmann, Pennsylvania State University, State College, Pa., tel +1.814.404.0127;; (E3001) Raymond Tsui, Ph.D., Arizona State University, Tempe, Ariz., tel +1.480.206.4736; 
ASTM Staff Contact: Kathleen McClung, tel +1.610.832.9717;

Fonte: ASTM

quarta-feira, 27 de maio de 2015

Canadá propõe nova abordagem para regular nanomateriais

O governo canadense propôs uma nova abordagem com relação aos nanomateriais para apoiar cientificamente e tecnologicamente as decisões para avançar as regulamentações do Ato de Proteção Ambiental Canadense (Cepa, em inglês).
De acordo com um documento de consulta lançado pelo governo, a abordagem "passo a passo" consistem em três fases:
1)Estabelecimento de uma lista dos nanomateriais existentes no Canadá;
2) Priorização da ação sobre eles e;
3) Ação sobre as substâncias identificadas para trabalhos futuros.

A fim de criar uma lista atual dos nanomateriais em uso no país, os ministérios do Meio ambiente e da Saúde do Canadá usarão um levantamento obrigatório nos termos da legislação do Cepa; A lista será concebida em consulta com as principais partes interessadas para "garantir que o escopo e objetivos sejam apropriados e disponíveis", disse um representante do governo canadense. 

Além do levantamento das legislações, também serão abordados aspectos setoriais e a obtenção de informações preparadas pela indústria para outras jurisdições.

Veja o restante aqui.

terça-feira, 26 de maio de 2015

USA TODAY: Nanotech companies trying to fight California's drought

(Photo: Marco della Cava, USA TODAY)
NAPA, Calif. – Cakebread Cellars makes wine the old-fashioned way, employing experts to use their eyes, nose and palate to produce coveted Napa Valley nectar.
But at the root of such success is water, which in California is fast becoming as precious as a rareCabernet Sauvignon. That's why behind the scenes here, high-tech tools are helping this cutting-edge winery maximize water through yet another drought.
"Technology gives us a much clearer picture of what's going on with our water usage," says Toby Halkovich, Cakebread's director of vineyard operations, as he clips a handheld leaf porometer to a grape leaf to monitor its moisture content. "The more accurate our information, the less water we waste."
When California Gov. Jerry Brown on April 1 issued an unprecedented statewide mandate to cut water use 25% by December, he targeted commercial and residential properties because the state's $45 billion agriculture business was too vital to disrupt.
But agriculture gulps down 80% of annual water consumption, so it stands to reason that the biggest savings won't come from a ripped up residential lawns but rather, from reduced use of water by agriculture and large industrial operations.
A 'River Closed' sign is posted on the Truckee River
A 'River Closed' sign is posted on the Truckee River which has dried
up because of lack of water at Lake Tahoe, in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Calif. 
(Photo: Michael Nelson, European Pressphoto Agency)
Technology is poised to assist on both fronts. From nanotech to biotech, a range of companies is leveraging scientific leaps to profit from the preservation of what is inarguably the planet's most precious resource.
Boston-based Cambrian Innovation has seen a spike in California inquiries for EcoVolt, a self-contained system that uses electrically active microbes to both purify wastewater and generate energy-producing methane gas. EcoVolt is aimed at food and beverage companies, and is in use by a few California wineries and breweries.
"Just like solar helps companies generate their own power, we're aiming to help them reuse their water plus make power," says Cambrian CEO Matthew Silver. EcoVolt has helped Lagunitas Brewery in the Bay Area cut its water footprint by 50% and reduce electricity usage by 16%, he says.
"To make a bottle of beer, you use seven bottles of water," says Silver. "Place a bioreactor filled with microbes on your site and you can see (financial) payback in less than three years."
Also operating on the micro level is Dais Analytic of Tampa, whose nanotech membranes are able to purify wastewater "not on a parts-per-million rate, but parts-per-billion," says CEO Tim Tangredi.
The company's patented polymer technology is able to transfer water from one side of a barrier to another on a molecular level. At present, the system is leveraged for reducing the carbon footprint of commercial air conditioning systems. But Dais is seeking partners in California to push its water purification system, which it claims is more cost-effective than the $1 billion desalination plant operating in Carlsbad, Calif.
"Anytime you need to generate more water you also need to use more energy and vice versa, and we're trying to break that cycle," says Tangredi. "California's drought is driven by a changing climate and population growth. They'll need more water, but we're saying they can reuse what they already have."
One of the biggest enemies of agricultural water use is evaporation, which is where Ambient Water comes in. The Spokane, Wash., company "harvests water from the atmosphere, turning vapor into liquid through a dehumidifier on steroids," explains CEO Keith White.
From the Model 2500 home version to the Ambient Water 20K, which is aimed at water-intensive oil and gas operations, the technology comes into play agriculturally with greenhouse-based vertical farming.
By enclosing and stacking crops many stories high, "you can have complete climate control and a closed-loop system where you use less water, fewer pesticides and get greater yields," says White. Ambient's device collects the moisture given off by such plants and returns it in liquid form to the growing cycle.
But for farmers who aren't about to overhaul their planting process, one way to instantly reduce water use is to simply know how much they're wasting.
HydroPoint Data Systems of Petaluma, Calif., makes smart water-management solutions that combine high-tech sensors and monitors with AT&T's cloud-based, machine-to-machine data transfer. By factoring in weather data, the system also can adjust watering routines.
"Most watering technology is stupid and doesn't react to the environment," says HydroPoint CEO Chris Spain, adding that his products can even factor in soil moisture levels. "We shouldn't be talking about a 25% reduction in water use, but rather a 95% elimination of wasted water."
HydroPoint clients include Walmart, Ford and California's Caltrans transportation network, and last year saved customers $145 million in water-related expenses, says Spain. He adds: "A four-letter word will help solve our water crisis - data."
Such talk fits right in among the technorati, but increasingly it's also the language spoken here at Cakebread Cellars.
Beyond the leaf moisture meter - which transfers data to company-issued iPad Minis – Cakebread's crops are monitored by underground probes that precisely measure water density and sap flow sensors that indicate which way water is coursing through a vine.
The winery even recently rebuilt its massive parking lot, swapping concrete, which funnels water away to drains, for porous pavers that return rainwater to the natural aquifers below the surface.
"We've put water meters on everything, from our crops to our landscaping," says Bruce Cakebread, who learned the wine trade from his father, company CEO Jack Cakebread, a photographer turned vintner who studied under Ansel Adams.
"At home, it's yellow water in the toilet, and at work it's all about maximizing what we've got through hard work and technology," says the scion. "We're only a small part of a big state, but there's a movement going on."


Cientistas abrem pequenas empresas investindo em nanotecnologia


Um hidratante com o triplo do tempo de ação da média do segmento, que acelera o resultado sobre a pele do consumidor, é um dos itens do portfólio da Nanovetores, que encapsula princípios ativos para cosméticos.

Utilizando a nanotecnologia, a empresa de Florianópolis (SC) "reveste" substâncias para que elas tenham maior permeabilidade, duração e eficácia do que as que não são revestidas.

A ideia do negócio partiu de Ricardo Ramos, 42, após a mulher, Betina Ramos, 37, terminar um doutorado em nanotecnologia na França.

Com apenas três anos, a Nanovetores exporta para 19 países e, só nos primeiros quatro meses deste ano, faturou R$ 4 milhões -o dobro do ano passado inteiro.

A manipulação de nanopartículas (de um milionésimo de milímetro) tem inspirado cientistas a abrirem empresas para dar novas capacidades a materiais e produtos do dia a dia. Segundo o Sebrae, há cerca de cem negócios de pequeno porte atuando na área.

A CHEM4U, de Mauá (SP), incorpora nanotecnologia a produtos de outras empresas para dar a eles propriedades bactericidas e fungicidas.

Aplicada a uma embalagem alimentícia, por exemplo, a técnica permite a conservação por mais tempo. "O alimento [pode ficar] na prateleira ou no estoque sem ser contaminado", diz a engenheira química Leila Jansen, 56, que criou a empresa com o marido Ulisses Jansen, 56.

O plano é expandir para produtos hospitalares.

Assim como a maioria das pequenas empresas que atuam na área, a CHEM4U nasceu em uma incubadora de uma universidade.

Como exige mão de obra altamente especializada e equipamentos de pesquisa de preços altos, há estreita colaboração entre as empresas e o meio acadêmico.


"É o próximo ciclo de desenvolvimento mundial", diz Leandro Berti, da ADNano, start-up catarinense que desenvolveu um fluído nanoestruturado para amortecedores que economiza combustível e aumenta a segurança.

O próximo passo de Berti é criar um amortecedor que potencialize a ação do fluido. Ele diz, porém, que está com dificuldade para conseguir investidores porque no Brasil "só se pensa em aplicativos para celular".
Leandro Berti, presidente-executivo da ADNano, que desenvolveu um fluido nanoestruturado
Leandro Berti, presidente-executivo da ADNano, que desenvolveu um fluido nanoestruturado
Célio Cabral, gerente de inovação e tecnologia do Sebrae, acredita que os investidores sejam cautelosos em razão do "risco tecnológico considerável" que essas empresas apresentam.

Diante da dificuldade de conseguir financiamento privado, ele recomenda aos empreendedores buscarem editais e fundos de fomento públicos, como da Finep.

Para José Martins, da Nanotimize, a falta de regulação é um outro problema de quem atua na área. A empresa de Itapira (SP) foi criada em 2008 com a proposta de aplicar nanotecnologia a produtos farmacêuticos, mas foi obrigada a mudar de rumo por falta de demanda -o primeiro projeto com nanotecnologia foi só em 2014.

"Como não há definição [de critérios regulatórios], as farmacêuticas ficam com incerteza se vale a pena fazer investimentos de maior porte", afirma Martins.


A manipulação de nanopartículas permite conferir novas características a materiais, como maior permeabilidade e precisão.

Por outro lado, elementos tão pequenos podem entrar na corrente sanguínea, causar inflamação celular e pesquisas já apontaram que alguns nanomateriais são potencialmente cancerígenos, de acordo com o professor Guilherme Lenz e Silva, da USP.

Uma das soluções apontadas para garantir a segurança dos produtos é a regulação da tecnologia, nos moldes do que foi feito com a lei de biossegurança.

Célio Cabral, gerente de inovação e tecnologia do Sebrae, defende que uma regulação também pode ajudar a tornar a área mais atrativa para investidores.

Para José Martins, da Nanotimize, que incorpora tecnologias a produtos farmacêuticos, a empresa foi prejudicada pela falta de regulação. Ele diz que as empresas temem investir em nanotecnologia porque não há critérios claros que balizem o que pode ou não ser feito.

"Como os nanomateriais são relativamente novos, não há um estudo sobre o efeito no organismo no longo prazo", diz o professor Lenz e Silva. Outro problema é como descartar os resíduos da produção.

Ainda assim, ele questiona a necessidade de uma regulação. Independentemente de incorporar nanotecnologia ou não, qualquer cosmético ou medicamento precisa ser registrado na Anvisa, o que garante a segurança, diz.

Maria Luisa Leal, diretora da Agência Brasileira de Desenvolvimento Industrial, concorda com a lógica. Ela não se diz contra uma regulamentação, mas afirma que "quando a Anvisa registra um produto, ela garante que ele tem eficácia, qualidade e segurança".

Fonte: Folha de São Paulo

segunda-feira, 25 de maio de 2015

US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Conditionally Registers Nanosilver Pesticide Product

Resultado de imagem para Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

On May 19, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it issued a conditional registration for a nanosilver-containing antimicrobial pesticide product named “NSPW-L30SS,” or “Nanosilva.”  

This is the second nanosilver registration issued by EPA and reflects the Agency’s growing expertise in addressing, processing, and approving nanopesticide registration applications.  

According to EPA, the product will be used as a non-food-contact preservative to protect plastics and textiles from odor- and stain-causing bacteria, fungi, mold, and mildew.  Items to be treated include household items, electronics, sports gear, hospital equipment, bathroom fixtures, and accessories. 

EPA based its decision “on its evaluation of the hazard of nanosilver after reviewing exposure data and other information on nanosilver from the applicant, as well as data from the scientific literature.”  EPA states that these data show that treated plastics and textiles release “exceedingly small amounts of silver.”  

Based on this evaluation, EPA “determined that NSPW-L30SS will not cause unreasonable adverse effects on people, including children, or the environment and that it would be beneficial because it will introduce less silver into the environment than competing products.”  EPA notes that it is requiring the company “to generate additional data to refine the Agency’s exposure estimates.”  

According to EPA, it will post a response to comments received on its 2013 proposed registration decision document, as well as the current decision document, in the rulemaking docket.

Fonte: Nanotech LawBC

domingo, 24 de maio de 2015

USA: The Nano Health & Safety Consortium Launched by SUNY Poly CNSE and NIOSH

Unique Public-Private Collaboration will Address Research for Occupational Safety and Health in Nanotechnology Industry

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and SUNY Polytechnic Institute’s Colleges of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (SUNY Poly CNSE) today announced the launch of the Nano Health & Safety Consortium. This initiative brings together government, academia, and industry leaders to advance research and guidance for occupational safety and health in nanotechnology-related industries.
The Nano Safety & Health Consortium represents an expansion of the existing partnership and memorandum of understanding (MOU) between NIOSH and SUNY Poly CNSE to advance responsible development of nanotechnology. The MOU will serve as a platform for the new consortium that will be anchored at the SUNY Poly CNSE Nanotech Megaplex in Albany, New York and extend across the full 10-campus SUNY Poly network throughout New York.
“Ensuring the safety of workers in the burgeoning nanotechnology industry is a top priority for NIOSH,” said NIOSH Director John Howard, M.D. “By joining with SUNY Poly in this effort, we’re building on an already successful partnership that allows us to align research efforts, expertise, and resources through the existing infrastructure of the world class SUNY Poly network to enhance our understanding of and manage potential health and safety risks to nanotechnology workers.”
The consortium has identified that occupational and environmental health and safety is an essential and enabling component of forward progress in nanotechnology research and development through manufacturing. In addition to advancing worker health and safety research, the consortium will provide training and education for students, faculty, researchers, and private sector members of the network, while taking advantage of the diverse research, manufacturing, and public-private partnership opportunities that exist across New York.
“SUNY Poly CNSE is a global resource for nanotechnology R&D,” said SUNY Poly CNSE Assistant Vice President for NanoHealth Initiatives and Assistant Professor of Nanobioscience Sara Brenner, M.D., M.P.H. “The collaborative work to be done by SUNY Poly, NIOSH, and the consortium will facilitate and accelerate commercialization, help strengthen and protect our workforce, and clear the path for innovation and enable the continued advancement of the field of nanotechnology.”
NIOSH Associate Director for Nanotechnology, Chuck Geraci, Ph.D., CIH and Dr. Brenner made today’s announcement at the White House Forum on Small Business Challenges to Commercializing Nanotechnology hosted by the Office of Science & Technology Policy and the National Economics Council. The meeting highlighted the NIOSH-SUNY Poly partnership as an example of the type of public-private collaboration that will shape the next phase of the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI).
“As founding members of the consortium, NIOSH and SUNY Poly have created a unique opportunity for government, academia, and industry to join forces to drive research that is critical for supporting the responsible development of nanotechnology in the United States and the competitive global market,” said Dr. Geraci. “The partnership will address environmental, health, and safety issues in a broad array of material applications across the life cycle—from R&D to disposal.”
The Nano Health & Safety Consortium will ultimately create broad opportunities for research that supports safe commercialization of nanomaterial products; supports the growth of nanomanufacturing; creates a model for stewardship as nanomaterials flow into advanced manufacturing; and supports the development of the factory of tomorrow. NIOSH and SUNY Poly are in the process of engaging private partners and federal agencies participating in the NNI to join and contribute to the mission of the consortium.
NIOSH is the federal agency that conducts research and makes recommendations for preventing work-related injuries, illnesses and deaths. To learn more about NIOSH’s nanotechnology initiatives visit Find more information about NIOSH
SUNY Polytechnic Institute (SUNY Poly) is New York’s globally recognized, high-tech educational ecosystem, formed from the merger of the SUNY College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering and SUNY Institute of Technology. As the world’s most advanced, university-driven research enterprise, SUNY Poly boasts more than $20 billion in high-tech investments, over 300 corporate partners, and maintains a statewide footprint. For information visit www.sunycnse.comExternal Web Site Icon and www.sunypoly.eduExternal Web Site Icon.


White House: Forum on Small Business Challenges to Commercializing Nanotechnology

Dr. John Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, addresses White House Forum on Small Business Challenges to Commercializing Nanotechnology
Dr. John Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, addresses White House Forum on Small Business Challenges to Commercializing Nanotechnology
Over fifteen years ago, on January 21, 2000, President Clinton announced “a major new national nanotechnology initiative” that today we know as the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI). In his speech that day at CalTech, President Clinton said:
“Just imagine materials with 10 times the strength of steel and only a fraction of the weight; shrinking all the information at the Library of Congress into a device the size of a sugar cube; detecting cancerous tumors that are only a few cells in size. Some of these research goals will take 20 or more years to achieve. But that is why—precisely why—…there is such a critical role for the Federal government.”
In an interesting turn of history, on January 21, 2015—precisely 15 years later—President Obama visited Boise State University and saw some of the innovations brought forth by research in nanoscale science and technology, including DNA-based nanomanufacturing methods and new electronic materials. Following his visit, the President observed:
“Some of your faculty and students are working with next-generation materials like graphene, which is a material that’s thinner than paper and stronger than steel. It's amazing.”
The President’s remarks highlight the significant progress that has been made towards achieving the vision of the NNI: a future in which the ability to understand and control matter at the nanoscale leads to a revolution in technology and industry that benefits society. Over the last fifteen years, Federal agencies participating in the NNI have invested over 20 billion dollars in fundamental and applied nanotechnology R&D; world-class characterization, testing, and fabrication facilities; education and workforce development; and efforts directed at understanding and controlling the environmental, health, and safety (EHS) aspects of nanotechnology.
These investments are leading to an abundance of exciting outcomes. Nanotechnology is enabling a range of possibly revolutionary innovations for the future of electronics with two-dimensional materials like graphene, spin-based devices, and memristors—just to name a few. Advances in nanophotonics, including the direct integration of photonics with electronics, are opening up whole new approaches for computation, communications, and sensing. Many of the most promising developments in new energy technologies, including both generation and storage, involve nanostructured materials. New nanoparticle-based composites and additives that are coming to market or are already on the market offer dramatic improvements in properties such as strength-to-weight ratios, manufacturing complexity, lubrication, and catalytic efficiency. And finally, not a day goes by when there isn’t a significant announcement about advances in nanoparticle-based, targeted therapies for treating diseases like cancer.
But much remains to be done to fully realize the benefits of these advances, particularly when it comes to transitioning advances in R&D to commercial applications. A recent review of the NNI by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) concluded that,
“…the nanotechnology field is at a critical transition point and has entered its second era, which we call NNI 2.0. This next technological generation will see the evolution from nanoscale components to interdisciplinary nano‐systems and the movement from a foundational research‐based initiative to one that also provides the necessary focus to ensure rapid commercialization of nanotechnology.”
To make this “second era” of nanotechnology as successful as the first will require the entire “NNI 2.0” stakeholder community to work together in new ways. Success will require new collaboration and partnership activities – involving both the private and public sectors – aimed at collectively advancing manufacturing, entrepreneurship, and the development of a workforce with the needed skills.
Fortunately, the community is already rising to this challenge, with companies, government agencies, colleges and universities, and non-profits announcing a series of new and expanded public and private initiatives that complement the Administration’s efforts to accelerate the commercialization of nanotechnology and expand the nanotechnology workforce. Many of these activities were discussed on May 20, 2015 when the National Economic Council and the Office of Science and Technology Policy held a forum at the White House to discuss opportunities to accelerate the commercialization of nanotechnology.
Participants in White House Forum on Small Business Challenges to Commercializing Nanotechnology
Participants in White House Forum on Small Business Challenges to Commercializing Nanotechnology

Overcoming barriers to manufacturing
  • The Colleges of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) at SUNY Polytechnic Institute in Albany, NY, are launching the Nano Health & Safety Consortium as an expansion of their partnership with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). This partnership represents an expanded commitment by NIOSH and CNSE to work together to advance research and guidance for occupational safety and health in the nanoelectronics and other nanomanufacturing industry settings. The new consortium will be anchored at the CNSE campus in Albany and will ultimately extend across the full 10-campus SUNY Poly network in New York in order to best leverage the diverse research, manufacturing, and public-private partnership opportunities that exist.
  • This month, Raytheon brought together a group of representatives from the defense industry and Department of Defense (DOD) to identify collaborative opportunities to advance nanotechnology product development, manufacturing, and supply-chain support. Working together on these points will also allow the DOD to optimize development, foster innovation, and take more rapid advantage of new commercial technologies.
  • BASF Corporation, the world's largest producer and marketer of chemicals and related products, is a taking new approach to finding solutions to nanomanufacturing challenges. In March, BASF launched a prize-based “NanoChallenge” for methods to make ready-to-use inorganic nanoparticle dispersions to be applied in large area functional thin films. This approach is designed to drive new levels of collaborative innovation while connecting with potential partners to co-create solutions that address industry challenges.
  • OCSiAl, a major producer of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNT), in February of this year launched an award program to dramatically lower the cost of research and development aimed at commercializing and advancing nanotechnology with carbon nanomaterials. Through the program, the company has committed one metric ton of SWCNTs to be made available to universities and research institutions. Small samples are available for free, and award winners receive access to larger quantities of SWCNT materials at significantly reduced costs through a matching grant. Recognizing that commercial applications may not be apparent in earlier-stage research, OCSiAl is expanding its eligibility criteria for receiving SWCNTs to include more exploratory research proposals, especially proposals for projects that could result in the creation of startups and technology transfers.

Promoting the formation of new businesses or the success of early stage businesses.

  • The NanoBusiness Commercialization Association (NanoBCA) is partnering with Venture for America and working with the National Science Foundation (NSF) to promote entrepreneurship in nanotechnology. Three companies (PEN, NanoMech, and SouthWest NanoTechnologies), are offering to support NSF’s Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program with mentorship for entrepreneurs-in-training and, along with three other companies (NanoViricides, mPhase Technologies, and Eikos), will partner with Venture for America to hire recent graduates into nanotechnology jobs, thereby strengthening new nanotech businesses while providing needed experience for future entrepreneurs.
  • The National Nanotechnology Coordination Office (NNCO) is working with the small- and medium-sized business community in a series of publicly-available webinars to identify challenges and successes in the commercialization of nanotechnology and provide information from the public and private sectors to help address these challenges.

Developing a skilled workforce

  • TechConnect, a global technology outreach and development organization, is establishing a Nano and Emerging Technologies Student Leaders Conference. This event will bring together the leaders of nanotechnology student groups, with an emphasis on undergraduates, from across the country and will include a research poster session, networking opportunities, and presentations from leading venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, and industry leaders. To provide maximum benefit to the students, the event will be co-located with the National SBIR/STTR Conference, the TechConnect World Innovation Conference & Expo, and the Nanotech Conference in May 2016. Five universities have already committed to partnering with TechConnect, led by the University of Virginia Nano and Emerging Technologies Club.
  • Brewer Sciences, a small business and global leader in developing and manufacturing advanced materials and equipment for the fabrication of cutting-edge electronic devices, has developed a Global Intern Program to develop the high-skilled talent needed to continue the company’s growth. Each summer, the program provides more than 30 students (from high school to PhD) from across the country with hands-on experience in a wide range of functions within the company, from human resources to manufacturing engineering. Brewer expects to increase the number of its STEM interns by 50% next year, and is committed to sharing best practices with other nanotechnology businesses interested in how internship programs can contribute to a small company’s success.
  • The National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology is expanding its partnership with the National Science Foundation (NSF) to provide hands-on experience for students in NSF’s Advanced Technology Education (ATE) program. With an emphasis on two-year colleges, the ATE program focuses on the education of technicians for the high-technology fields that drive our nation's economy. Following a successful summer pilot, the partnership will now run year-round and will include opportunities for students at Hudson Valley Community College and the University of the District of Columbia Community College. NIST is committing to share best practices with businesses and other laboratories interested in expanding hands-on training opportunities to build the future nanotechnology technical workforce.
  • Federal agencies participating in the NNI, supported by the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office (NNCO), are launching multiple new activities aimed at educating students and the public about nanotechnology, including image and video contests highlighting student research, a new webinar series focused on providing nanotechnology information for K-12 teachers, and a searchable web portal on of nanoscale science and engineering resources for teachers and professors.
As President Obama observed in his most recent State of the Union, “Twenty-first century businesses will rely on American science and technology, research and development.” We call on all sectors of the nanotechnology community to identify additional ways to work together and make sure more of those businesses are built on nanoscience and nanotechnology.
Posted by Lloyd Whitman, Assistant Director for Nanotechnology at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and Co-chair of the National Science and Technology Council, Committee on Technology, Subcommittee on Nanoscale Science, Engineering, and Technology (NSET).

Fonte: NNI