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Positioning for the Nano Future: California's $350 Million Investment

August 24, 2001

While technological advancements occur every day, truly revolutionary technologies over the past three hundred years — those that promise so many diverse applications that they result in disruption and restructuring of several different industries — can be counted on one hand. The field of nanotechnology, with major implications for nearly every industrial sector, appears to be one of those once-in-a-lifetime breakthroughs. 

At this point, only a few states are preparing on a large scale to capitalize on the research and resulting economic growth of this exciting field. A $350 million research institute taking shape in southern California at the universities of California at Los Angeles and Santa Barbara is one of the most aggressive investments to date. 

The California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI), with 300,000 sq. ft. in two buildings on the two campuses, will house industry researchers, teachers, students and scientists. CNSI will facilitate the development of the science and engineering of integrated, macroscopic systems characterized by emergent behavior originating from the structure and organization of nanoscale components. 

Among the institute's sources of funding are the federal government, which is providing $110 million, and the State of California, contributing $100 million. Another $90 million is expected from private donors, and $50 million will come from corporate donations, including more than 20 companies. 

Martha Krebs, formerly the science director of the Department of Energy, is CNSI's founding director. 

What is Nanotechnology Anyway? 

Whether your state or community is prepared to invest as heavily into nano research as California, understanding the implications of nanotechnololgy will greatly improve the ability of your businesses, universities, technical colleges and tech-based economic development programs to benefit from and respond to the opportunities and challenges nanotechnology will bring. 

To assist practitioners in gaining a foothold in the field, SSTI is offering an in-depth workshop on the technology as one of its pre-conference sessions, September 19 in Pittsburgh. Nanotechnology and Photonics: Waves of the Future is being held in partnership with the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Dr. Mihail Roco, Director of the National Nanotechnology Initiative and John Mendel, Materials Commercialization Manager with Eastman Kodak Company will lead the discussion of what nanotechnology is and its diverse applications, the current state of development, the potential impact on the economy and our lives, and what the federal government is doing to support the development of the technology. 

More information on CNSI is available at http://www.cnsi.ucla.edu/  To learn more about SSTI's nanotechnology and photonics pre-conference session and to register, visit http://www.ssti.org/Conf01/preconference.htm [expired]