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Events :: December 19, 2005

Nanotechnology and the Future of California [Mr. Honda]

Nanotechnology offers California the opportunity to be in the forefront of leading-edge industriess during the 21st Century, and Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA) is determined that the State seize the benefits. Partnering with State Controller Steve Westly, Honda convened and shared the chair of the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Nanotechnology with the mission to "to promote all of California as the national and worldwide center for nanotechnology research, development and commercialization. The primary objective of the task force is to help develop a regional nanotechnology economic development initiative." Under the direction of Working Chair Scott Hubbard, Director of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Ames Research Center, the Task Force spent a year developing recommendations that would assure California a leading position in what could be a trillion-dollar economic sector.

Hon. Mike Honda, Hon. Steve Westly and NASA Ames Research Center Director Scott Hubbard release the Task Force report December 19, 2005

(L-R) Rep. Mike Honda and California State Controller Steve Westly, Co-Chairs of the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Nanotechnology, hear from Working Chair Scott Hubbard during release of the Task Force report December 19, 2005

On December 19, 2005, the co-chairs met at the Ames Research Center for the release of the Task Force report, Thinking Big About Thinking Small. Reports in the San Francisco Chronicle, the San Jose Mercury News and the Worcester Telegram detail the day's events and the actions proposed in the Task Force report. For those recommendations that require some action by Federal agencies, Rep. Honda will develop and introduce appropriate legislation.

Excerpts from Remarks by the Honorable Mike Honda
for the Release of the Task Force Report

... As you all know, I’m very committed to nanotechnology and I’m very committed to California.  That’s why I authored the Nanotechnology Research and Development Act with the Science Committee chairman back in 2003.Rep. Mike Honda speaks at the Task Force event December 19, 2005.  That bill was good for nanotechnology in the nation as a whole, and California was able to benefit from it, too.  It focused on basic research and very early stage development, the kind of stuff that happens at national labs like Berkeley, Livermore, and Sandia here in California; at agency research centers like NASA Ames; and in university centers and individual scientists’ labs.  Using the funds provided by that bill, researchers have made many new findings and have advanced our understanding of the world at the nanoscale greatly.

But that bill only did a small amount to help out companies big and small take those research results and turn them into products to sell to consumers.  And what it did do applied to the nation as a whole, so California only got a part of it.  Because I love California so much, I wanted to figure out what I could do to help California in particular be a leader in this area, particularly since it has so many natural advantages already.

That’s why we formed the Blue Ribbon Task Force.  We knew enough to know that we didn’t have all the answers on what to do to help California.  So we brought in you folks, the experts, so we could pick your brains.  I didn’t want to unduly influence or interfere with your deliberations, so I didn’t crash your meetings, but I know how much time and effort you put in to come up with this report and your recommendations....

... You all have done your part by writing the report, and we must continue to do ours. I’ve already been working to secure funding for nanotechnology research projects and centers at Santa Clara University and San Jose State University. I pledge to continue this kind of effort and others aligned with the recommendations of the report in order to ensure that California is a leader in nanotechnology.

I hope that you all will continue to work with us over time to help us get it right. Thanks again for all of your hard work and I congratulate you on this fine report.

Read Rep. Honda's full statement »

Report of the
Blue Ribbon Task Force on Nanotechnology

From the Executive Summary

While nanotechnology – the manipulation and exploitation of the unique properties of matter at the atomic scale – is a relative newcomer to our arsenal of technical capabilities, it would be hard to overstate its potential or importance.  It holds the promise of revolutionary breakthroughs in medicine, energy, environmental controls and many other fields, with the anticipation of new research, products, jobs and entire industries.

Cover image of the Tak Force report

For that reason, the United States developed and implemented a national nanotechnology policy more than five years ago.  To preserve its technology leadership and economic strength, the state of California must now embrace the nanotechnology challenge.

Overall, we find that California has an excellent infrastructure, encompassing world-class universities, national labs and the private industrial base.  Our state is well positioned to compete, and lead, in the nanotechnology age.  The BRTFN finds, however, that policy makers must take urgent action in eight key areas if California is to remain competitive and achieve its potential in nanotechnology research and product commercialization....

Read the Task Force report in PDF formatRead the complete Task Force report »


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