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Friday, April 29, 2005

April 25, 2005

Hon. Jerry Lewis
Committee on Appropriations
U.S. House of Representatives
2112 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
FAX: 202-225-6498

Re: Appropriations – Nanotechnology

Dear Congressman Lewis:

The Bay Area Science and Innovation Consortium (BASIC) is a regional entity dedicated to advancing the Bay Area’s leadership in science and technology, driving innovation and accelerating the economic growth of the Bay Area. On behalf of the Board of Directors of BASIC, we respectfully urge your support for increased appropriations in FY 2006 for nanotechnology research because of its critical importance to the future of the entire state.

Specifically, as you consider your requests to the various appropriations subcommittees, we urge you to include the following programs with statewide impact:

  • NSF – $362 million for the National Nanotechnology Initiative. While well short of the $424 million (or 10 percent increase) authorized for FY 2006 under the 21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act sponsored by House Science Committee Chairman Sherwood Boehlert and California Representative Mike Honda, $362 million represents a 7 percent increase allowing a doubling of this budget over a 10 year period. Given the caliber of our state’s universities and national laboratories, California will capture a significant share of the research grants that are awarded on competitive merit.
  • Defense – $20 million to allow the Defense Department to fund its share of the semiconductor Focus Center Research Program (FCRP). Since 1998, the Defense Department and the semiconductor industry have co-funded the FCRP to perform the basic research needed for future semiconductor technology advances. California schools are the projected beneficiaries of almost half of the research – at UC Berkeley, UCLA, UC Riverside, UC San Diego, UC Santa Barbara, Stanford, CalTech, and the University of Southern California.
  • Department of Energy – Support the President’s budget request for $9.6 million to complete construction of the Molecular Foundry at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, a user facility for the design, synthesis and characterization of nanoscale materials, and $8.55 million to begin operations. The Molecular Foundry is one of five nanoscale science research centers established by the U.S. Department of Energy. California’s congressional delegation is urged to fully fund the Energy Department’s request for its nanoscale science research centers.
  • NASA – $45 million to maintain NASA’s nanotechnology effort and avoid the 22 percent cut proposed by the Administration. NASA Ames has one of the largest nanotechnology research centers in the world, and is a significant part of NASA’s nanotechnology budget. In particular, BASIC supports $5 million to fund planning, start-up and economic development activities associated with the Bio-Info-Nanotechnology Research and Development Institute (BIN-RDI), a new public-private partnership initiative at NASA Ames Research Park. The goal of this partnership is to explore the potential in the convergence of nano, bio and information technologies, leveraging off Silicon Valley's well-established expertise in these areas.
  • NIST – $20 million as requested by the Administration for NIST’s national Nanomanufacturing and Nanometrology Facility. If California’s semiconductor companies are to continue to shrink the size of the circuits on each chip, and if new nanotechnology industries are to take off, breakthroughs must be made in the science of measurement for a variety of parameters. NIST is an important source of this research.

California’s competitive strength lies in innovation and initiative. Advances in nanotechnology will play to these strengths in a variety of industries including semiconductors and electronics, biotechnology, environment, energy, and aerospace. Spin-offs from universities will also create new nanotechnology industries that are beyond our imagination today. The National Science Foundation has predicted that nanotechnology will be generating a trillion dollars worth of commercial products by 2015. If California is to take advantage of this opportunity, we must nurture and support the scientists and innovators who will be creating it.

California represents about 20 percent of the research in nanotechnology today, but we cannot rest on these laurels. In its report to the state legislature, the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST) report on nanotechnology stated:

“If the state takes appropriate steps,…California should be able to maintain its leadership in nanotechnology in the decades to come…. the 21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act. … authorizes $3.68 billion over … four years for nanotechnology research and development programs at the National Science Department of Energy (DOE), the Department of Commerce, NASA, and the Environmental Protection Agency. In particular, the California delegation should work together to insure that Congress fully appropriates the amounts for nanotechnology authorized in the Boehlert-Honda bill.” *

In addition, BASIC produced a report on nanotechology, Nanotechnology in the San Francisco Bay Area: Dawn of a New Age **, as a resource for decision-makers at the regional, state and federal levels and for the regional community. The report explains what nanotechnology is, its promise in so many different areas, the challenges for realizing that promise, and what has been accomplished by the research and development community of the San Francisco Bay Area. You may already have copy of this report or, if you would like additional copies, we would be pleased to send them to you.

Please let us know if there is any further information that BASIC could provide to be of assistance to you.

We do understand that FY 2006 will be a difficult budget year. As you develop your budget priorities, we would urge you to support research in nanotechnology given its important role in creating future jobs, consumer benefits, and tax revenues for California.

Robert J. T. Morris, Ph.D.

cc Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
UC President Robert Dynes
Stanford President John Hennessy
California Institute for Federal Policy Research


* California Council on Science and Technology: "Nanoscience and Nanotechnology: Opportunities and Challenges in California"; CCST Report to the California Legislature's Joint Committee on Preparing California for the 21st Century; is at: ; pages 116-118.

** BASIC: "Nanotechnology in the San Francisco Bay Area: Dawn of a New Age,"


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