On May 14, 2012, the agencies participating in the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) announced the fourth Nanotechnology Signature Initiative, “Nanotechnology Knowledge Infrastructure: Enabling National Leadership in Sustainable Design” (NKI). According to a press release issued by the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office (NNCO), this signature initiative will stimulate the development of models, simulation tools, and databases to enable the prediction of specific properties and characteristics of nanoscale materials. This will then accelerate commercialization of nanotechnology innovations that maximize benefits to humans and the environment while minimizing risks. NKI identifies four areas that will benefit from focused attention:
- A diverse collaborative community of scientists, engineers, and technical staff to support research, development, and applications of nanotechnology to meet national challenges;
- An agile modeling network for multidisciplinary intellectual collaboration that effectively couples experimental basic research, modeling, and applications development;
- A sustainable cyber-toolbox to enable effective application of models and knowledge to nanomaterials design; and
- A robust digital nanotechnology data and information infrastructure to support effective data sharing, collaboration, and innovation across disciplines and applications.