A milestone in scientific cooperation between the United States and the European Commission (EC) will boost the growing field of materials research at the nanoscale. The National Science Foundation (NSF) and the EC have expanded a program of workshops and funding of mutual research goals in materials science, to include nanotechnology.
"The creation and modification of materials at the nanoscale, once the stuff of science fiction, will be a critical factor in shaping future technologies," Lance Haworth, executive officer of NSF's Materials Research Division, said in announcing the collaboration. "Because of the emerging nature of the field, the benefits from international collaboration could be significant."
Under the cooperative program, research goals will be determined jointly by U.S. and European researchers. NSF grants will support the U.S. side of research teams in areas such as surface structure and thin films, carbon nanotubes and the role of defects in materials. The EC will fund the Europeans' participation.
Four joint workshops are planned for 2002, following up on an initial workshop in 2000 to identify opportunities for nanoscale research:
"Nanomanufacturing and Processing," San Juan, Puerto Rico, Jan. 5-7, will explore processes and techniques for design, modeling, tooling and fabrication of devices and materials.
"Nanotechnology--Revolutionary Opportunities and Societal Implications," Lecce, Italy, Jan. 31-Feb. 1, will highlight U.S. and European "roadmaps" for nanotechnology and impacts of the field for society and various industries.
"Instrumentation and Tools for Nanotechnology," Grenoble, France, June 12-14, will examine tools, instruments and devices needed for nanoscale manufacturing.
"Nanostructured Materials," Boston, Mass., Dec. 5-6, will review developments in metals, polymers, ceramics and other advanced materials.
The collaborative research awards and joint workshops are being carried out under an agreement signed in December 1999 to cooperate in materials research and education. That agreement, an implementing arrangement under the U.S.-EC Science and Technology Agreement of 1998, establishes the framework for collaboration in areas such as the understanding of fundamental materials phenomena, materials synthesis and characterization, and the properties, processing and fabrication of advanced materials.
International cooperation in materials research and nanotechnology helps advance NSF's goals to facilitate U.S. access to worldwide research, optimize U.S. investments in the global environment, foster the development of an internationally competitive work force and carry out the National Nanotechnology Initiative. In Europe, the cooperation furthers an EC program on competitive and sustainable growth.
NSF's Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences, Directorate for Engineering and Division of International Programs will participate in the nanotechnology collaboration with Europe.
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