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February 14, 2003

Rep. Boehlert urges $2.1 billion in R&D funds for nanotechnology

U.S. Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R-New Hartford) has proposed a $2.1 billion national research initiative in nanotechnology-an initiative that could mean a substantial increase in federal high-tech research funding for New York State institutions.

Nanotechnology is an emerging high-tech discipline in which New York State has established research strengths and ambitions for continued growth in research and development. New York universities such as Cornell, Columbia, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and the University at Albany are recognized leaders in nanotechnology R&D.

The bill would fund nanotechnology research programs for three years through the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, the Department of Commerce, NASA, and the Environmental Protection Agency. It would create a structure for coordinating research across agencies. Funded research would be peer-reviewed, and interdisciplinary research would be emphasized.

"In science and technology, few things could actually be 'bigger' than nanotechnology-in terms of its potential to revolutionize scientific and engineering research, improve human health and most importantly, create jobs here in New York," Rep. Boehlert said.

The Business Council has strongly supported substantial, sustained increases in state spending on research and development in nanotechnology and other high-tech areas of intellectual and economic promise.

Business Council President Daniel B. Walsh praised the Boehlert proposal.

"Here is a classic case of an investment in a critical area of science being good for New York State and good for the nation," Walsh said. "Sustained investment in world-class nanotechnology research will bring scientific breakthroughs which will strengthen this country and its economy. New York State is uniquely positioned in this field of science to participate in this exciting chapter of American science."

Last spring, New York was named as one of six "Places To Watch" in the race to become the nation's economic center of nanotechnology and microsystems technology by Small Times magazine, the leading publication in the field. International SEMATECH-the world-class research consortium-has committed to establishing a $400 million R&D Center in upstate New York, in partnership with the state.

For additional information on the federal government's nanotechnology research initiatives, log on to www.nano.gov.