Washington D.C. – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressman Chris Gibson, members of the Armed Services Committee, announced the National Defense Authorization Act has now passed both chambers of Congress, and includes over $50 million for nanotechnology research and a provision to increase focus on nanotechnology research by the Defense Department, including a study to determine the need for a center for nanotechnology.
A new center would likely be located at the University at Albany’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering devoted to research and development of nanotechnology. Albany’s NanoCollege is also well placed to compete for the research funding. Now that the House and Senate have both approved the funding and legislative provision, the bill will be sent to the President for signature.
“This would be a great investment for the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering of the University at Albany and our military,” said Senator Gillibrand. “It is critical that nanotechnology research and development is done right here in the U.S. and there is no place better to lead the way than the University at Albany’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering. Like other innovations that have made our country competitive, the Defense Department’s innovation can have the additional benefit of spurring commercial investments and helping to sustain a domestic industry that not only serves the Defense Industrial Base but also translates into American competitiveness.”
“During my 24-year career in the United States Army, I saw firsthand the benefits of nanotechnology for our military. This is innovation that will make equipment more reliable, more durable, and lighter for our service members to carry. I was proud to champion this effort in the House-passed bill and appreciate Sen. Gillibrand’s advocacy in the Senate,” said Congressman Gibson. “By working together on our respective Committees, we’ve given CNSE the opportunity to compete for funding immediately and, perhaps more importantly, required DOD to study establishing a research center devoted solely to nanotechnology in the future. This designation, which I believe CNSE would be highly competitive for, would only further our region’s reputation as the next Tech Valley, aiding local job creation and private investment.”
Dr. Alain Kaloyeros, Senior Vice President and CEO of the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, said, “On behalf of the UAlbany NanoCollege, I applaud the effective leadership and successful advocacy of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressman Chris Gibson in providing the Capital Region and New York State with a unique opportunity to leverage its world-class high-tech assets and resources to support the critical mission of safeguarding and protecting our nation’s vital national interests. This is an important milestone, as achieved by Senator Gillibrand and Congressman Gibson, and sets the stage for the designation of the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering and New York as a national centerpiece for the development of state-of-the-art, nanotechnology-enabled tools that will equip and protect our troops and enable U.S. supremacy in 21st century military technologies. It enables the attraction of significant federal investment to catalyze new high-tech economic development opportunities spurred by New York’s globally recognized nanotechnology economy.”
A 2010 President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology report said that between 2003 and 2008, U.S. public and private investments in nanotechnology only grew at 18 percent per year compared to 27 percent per year throughout the world. While the U.S. is a global leader in nanotechnology, other countries like China are quickly catching up.
In recent years, China has become increasingly interested in the technology, naming it one of its four “science Megaprojects” that have the central purpose of closing the scientific research gap with the U.S. by 2020. Chinese nanotechnology patents have already surpassed the number of U.S. applications, and researchers have estimated that the Chinese government has already invested $400 million from 2002 to 2007 in the technology, with that funding expected to rise considerably in the coming years.