Provision to help schools buy nano/micro equipment with NSF grants

Apr. 27, 2007 — A group of U.S. senators — including Ron Wyden (D-OR), John Kerry (D-MA), Gordon Smith (R-OR), and Mark Pryor (D-AR) — has added a provision to U.S. competitiveness legislation to authorize the use of National Science Foundation grant funds to acquire nanotechnology equipment and software designed for teaching students in classrooms.

The tools targeted for purchase “will help attract talented young people to nanotechnology in Oregon and across the nation,” said Wyden, co-chairman of the congressional Nanotechnology Caucus.

“If we are to harness the extraordinary potential of nanotechnology, we must make it an educational priority,” Pryor said. “This legislation will foster partnerships between American businesses and schools so that we can continue to stay competitive in the global economy. From medical technology to heavy machinery, I’ve seen first-hand how nanotechnology is advancing in my home state of Arkansas.”

The language in the provision was added to an amendment that establishes a laboratory science pilot program at the National Science Foundation, and is included in the America COMPETES Act, which the U.S. Senate approved on April 25, 2007.

The senators said that with the inclusion of the language, partnerships between schools (including low-income school districts, colleges, and universities) and businesses will be able to secure funds to purchase classroom versions of scanning electron microscopes and other tools.

The 21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act is due to come up for reauthorization next year. Wyden, one of the Act’s authors, said reauthorizing the legislation will help further promote American competitiveness in the field of nanotechnology.


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