Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Passed House amended (05/07/2003)

Nanotechnology Research and Development Act of 2003 - Directs the President to implement a National Nanotechnology Research and Development Program to promote Federal nanotechnology research, development, demonstration, education, technology transfer, and commercial application activities to ensure continued U.S. leadership in nanotechnology research and development (R&D) and effective coordination of such R&D across Federal agencies.

Requires that Program activities be designed to: (1) support nanotechnology R&D through grants to individual and interdisciplinary teams of investigators and through establishment of advanced technology user facilities and interdisciplinary research centers; (2) ensure that solicitation and evaluation of proposals under the Program encourage interdisciplinary research; (3) expand education and training of undergraduate students in interdisciplinary nanotechnology science and engineering; (4) accelerate the commercial application of nanotechnology innovations; and (5) ensure that societal and ethical concerns, including environmental concerns and the potential implications of human performance enhancement and the possible development of nonhuman intelligence, will be addressed by establishing a research program to identify such concerns, by integrating nanotechnology R&D with research on societal and ethical concerns, by requiring that interdisciplinary research centers include activities that address those concerns, and by ensuring, through the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office (established by this Act) and agencies participating in the Program, that public input and outreach are integrated into nanotechnology R&D and research on societal and ethical concerns by the convening of regular and ongoing public discussions; and (6) include diverse institutions.

Directs the President to establish or designate an interagency committee on nanotechnology R&D to oversee Program planning, management, and coordination. Requires such committee to: (1) establish Program goals and priorities; (2) establish Program component areas; (3) develop and update annually a strategic plan; (4) propose a coordinated interagency budget for the Program; (5) develop a plan to utilize Federal programs, such as the Small Business Innovation Research Program and the Small Business Technology Transfer Research Program, to support accelerating the commercial application of nanotechnology innovations; (6) consider the recommendations of the nanotechnology advisory committee(as established by this Act), the suggestions or recommendations on nanotechnology R&D and research on societal and ethical concerns developed from public outreach, and the views of academic, State, industry, and other groups conducting research on and using nanotechnology; and (7) submit annual reports to specified congressional committees on the Program budget, the progress made toward achieving Program goals and priorities, and agency implementation of the plan for utilizing Federal small business programs to accelerate the commercial application of nanotechnology innovations.

(Sec. 5) Directs the President to establish or designate an advisory committee on nanotechnology which shall assess and report to the President on: (1) trends and developments in nanotechnology science and engineering; (2) the progress made in implementing the Program; (3) the need to revise the Program; (4) the balance among Program components; (5) whether the program component areas, priorities, and technical goals developed by the interagency committee are helping to maintain U.S. leadership in nanotechnology; (6) Program management, coordination, implementation, and activities; and (7) whether societal and ethical concerns are adequately addressed.

(Sec 6) Directs the President to establish a National Nanotechnology Coordination Office to: (1) provide technical and administrative support to the interagency and advisory committees; (2) serve as a point of contact on Federal nanotechnology activities for specified governmental and nongovernmental entities to exchange technical and programmatic information; and (3) conduct public outreach.

(Sec. 7) Authorizes appropriations for FY 2004 through 2006 for the following agencies to carry out this Act: (1) the National Science Foundation; (2) the Department of Energy; (3) the National Aeronautics and Space Administration; (4) the National Institute of Standards and Technology; and (5) the Environmental Protection Agency.

(Sec. 8) Requires the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy to enter into an agreement with the National Academy of Sciences to conduct periodic reviews of the Program, which shall include an evaluation of technical achievements, the relative position of the United States with respect to other nations in nanotechnology R&D, the Program's success in transferring technology to the private sector, whether the Program has been successful in fostering interdisciplinary R&D, and the extent to which the Program has adequately considered societal and ethical concerns. Mandates that one review: (1) within three years include a study to determine the technical feasibility of the manufacture of materials and devices at the molecular scale; and (2) within six years include a study to assess the need for standards, guidelines, or strategies for ensuring the development of safe nanotechnology.

(Sec. 9) Requires agencies for which appropriations are authorized under this Act to establish Science and Technology Graduate Scholarship Programs that are designed to recruit and prepare students for Government careers that require engineering, scientific, and technical training. Directs such agencies to enter into contractual agreements under which individuals selected receive scholarships in exchange for agreeing to serve as full-time Government employees for a specified period.