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Science  14 Jun 2002:
Vol. 296, Issue 5575, pp. 1947
DOI: 10.1126/science.296.5575.1947c

A bigger effort is needed to coordinate science on the smallest scale, according to a report released this week by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. Fifteen federal agencies and departments currently participate in the U.S. government's National Nanotechnology Initiative, which has spent some $1 billion over the last 2 years to promote science at the atomic scale. Although the agencies meet regularly to mesh their programs, the report concludes that they could use more help.

Samuel Stupp, a materials scientist at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, who chaired the 16-member panel that wrote the report, says the biggest problem is that there is “no advice from outside” or straightforward way “to seek opinions from the community at large.”

To build those bridges, the panel recommends that the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) set up a new advisory board of outside scientists to coordinate nanoscience strategy. It also suggests that the office manage a special grant fund for interdisciplinary research. OSTP currently does not hand out any money. OSTP officials say they are studying the recommendations.

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