Maryland NanoCenter
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Public Policy

Nanotechnology presents a variety of important issues related to society and public policy, and Maryland NanoCenter faculty are committed to many of these, which extend well beyond cutting-edge research, technology development, and education.

One important issue is the recruiting and development of a large and diverse workforce, which will be needed for the nanotechnology industries of the future (NSF estimates 2 million workers within 15 years). Attracting students to science and technology remains a major challenge.  Maryland's NSF Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC) has been a pioneer in outreach to K-12 students and under-represented groups.

Another key issue is to understand any impact of nanotechnology on health and environment, which could arise from the small size and diverse materials involved in nanoscale objects - nanoparticles, nanotubes, nanowires, etc.  Maryland NanoCenter researchers have leading-edge abilities to produce well-defined nanoscale objects with a high degree of control on their size, composition, shape, and uniformity.  This provides leverage for fundamental understanding of how such objects interact with and influence health and environment.  Accordingly, Maryland NanoCenter is developing research efforts aimed at addressing these questions on a solid scientific foundation.

Nano in an era of globalization

With globalization creating a single world marketplace, competitiveness of American worker in traditional industries is diminished by substantially lower salaries and costs to be found elsewhere. Nano presents a major opportunity: as a potentially explosive set of new technology areas, nano offers new areas for high-tech industry with corresponding high-salary jobs.