Washington D.C. – The Senate Appropriations Committee included U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s provision to increase focus on nanotechnology development and manufacturing by the Defense Department, including $50 million in the Defense Appropriations bill. The University at Albany’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering will likely be a strong competitor for this funding. Senator Gillibrand, member of the Armed Services Committee included language in the FY 2012 National Defense Authorization Act to provide $50 million of federal funds to nanotechnology and other enhanced performance material technologies. Albany’s NanoCollege would need to compete with other institutions for the funding to establish a center.
In addition, Senator Gillibrand secured approval for an increased focus on nanotechnology research by the Defense Department in the FY 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, including a study to determine the need for a center for nanotechnology. If a new center is established, it is likely to be located at the University at Albany’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering devoted to research and development of nanotechnology.
“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 development and manufacturing is done right here in the U.S. and there is no place better to lead the way than the UAlbany NanoCollege. 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.”
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 Senator Kirsten Gillibrand for her vision and advocacy in securing this critical approval by the Senate Appropriations Committee. This represents a further demonstration of the success of New York’s congressional delegation in advancing the best interests of the Capital Region and New York State, with the prior approval of similar legislation by the House Armed Services Committee through the leadership and dedicated efforts of Congressman Chris Gibson and proactive support and determined initiative of Congressman Paul Tonko. This action represents a significant step forward in designating the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering and New York as a nucleus for providing national leadership in 21st century military technologies, enabling the development and deployment of state-of-the-art, nanotechnology-enabled tools to protect and safeguard both our military forces and our vital national interests, and positioning the region and state to attract significant federal investment that will catalyze new high-tech jobs and opportunities to further build New York’s fast-growing 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.
Senator Gillibrand worked closely with Representatives Paul Tonko (NY-21) and Chris Gibson (NY-20) in support of the advancement of nanotechnology and the creation of a new nanotechnology center at the University at Albany.