Smith Seeks to Advance Commercial Use of Nanotechnology

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WASHINTGTON, DC – Senator Gordon Smith (R-OR) is proposing to establish up to eight Nanoscience to Commercialization Institutes across the country, each focused on a specific field of expertise for the purpose of bridging the gap between nanoscience research and the marketplace. Explicitly aimed at commercialization, Smith’s legislation (S. 1908) would require each institute to develop and maintain a business plan detailing its goals, including how it will collaborate with private entities.

“Nanotechnology is creating opportunities that range from improving sports equipment to inventing life-saving medical applications,” Smith said. “Its potential for changing our lives may be greater than that of the silicon chip, and we need to encourage practical research aimed at real world uses.”

S. 1908 authorizes $24 million over three years for institutes specializing in applying nanoscience to industries such as energy, medical, transportation, textiles, agriculture and printable electronics. Each Institute will partner with private entities involved in micro- or nanotechnologies that will contribute a level of matching funds and expertise. A peer review committee, consisting of industry representatives and venture capital firms, will provide oversight by reviewing the goals and progress of each Institute.

“Competition in nanotechnology is global in nature. Other countries, such as Japan and China are making tremendous investments and it’s critical that we maintain global leadership,” Smith said. “Bringing private industry into research is one of the best ways I know to move science from theory to reality.”