Nanotechnology in California: Overview prepared for the National Nanotechnology Initiative Review

Release Date: February 5, 2010 | Last Updated Date: February 20, 2015

California has been a national leader in proactively developing policy frameworks for burgeoning technologies such as nanotechnology; for example, California’s state government has been actively engaged in raising the awareness of health and environmental issues in nanotech. The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) is looking at such state-level policy frameworks and in January 2010 asked CCST to present an overview of California’s nanotechnology policies.

This white paper was presented to PCAST as part of the National Nanotechnology Initiative Review. It provides a summary of state legislation affecting nanotechnology, an overview of the current status of the industry in California, applications, the role of R&D in California, venture capital funding, the regulatory environment, and the impact of the National Nanotechnology Review.

Key points:

  • NNI has been highly influential in California.
  • Nanotech is now a significant and increasingly maturing component of the high-tech economy; we are shifting from an era of discovery to one of commercialization.
  • It may be less identifiable as a separate discipline; nanotech techniques have been absorbed by many industries.
  • SMEs dominate commercialization – large industries following.
  • California leads nation in health and safety issues; nanotechnology receives much government attention.
  • New reporting regulations indicate that well conceived and implemented regulation may bring benefits to industry in the long run but may make firms less willing to participate and report.
  • Although a number of California’s educational institutions have assumed a leadership role in nanotechnology education and training, workforce production and education remains inadequate to support the industry.

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