In early 2016 Georgia Tech’s Institute for Electronics and Nanotechnology (IEN) was chosen by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to be the Coordinating Office of the National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure (NNCI) program. Consisting of 16 sites, located in 17 states and involving 29 universities and partners, NNCI provides researchers from academia, industry, and government access to university user facilities with leading-edge fabrication and characterization tools, instrumentation and staff expertise within all disciplines of nanoscale science, engineering and technology.
On January 18 & 19, 2017 the IEN hosted 78 attendees, including officials from the NSF, the NNCI Site Directors and staff, and members of the NNCI External Advisory Board, for the program’s first annual conference. The two-day event comprised reports from the coordinating office and the 16 member sites, and break-out strategic planning sessions on topics such as future research directions, user support, facility operations, computational resources, and education and outreach. In addition, topical keynote lectures were presented by Jeffrey Morse, NSF Center for Hierarchical Manufacturing, University of Massachusetts-Amherst (Advanced Roll-to-Roll Nanofabrication Facility at the University of Massachusetts), Magnus Egerstedt, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Georgia Tech (Control and Coordination of Increasingly Larger Teams of Smaller Robots), and Ravi Bellamkonda, Dept. of Biomedical Engineering, Duke University (Nanocarriers to Treat Gliomas of the Brain).
The conference and its various activities was well received by the attendees. According to the NanoEarth Site Director, Mike Hochella: “I thought that the whole experience was a truly fantastic conference, useful in so many ways. Our leadership team is meeting this afternoon to go over all the things that we learned, and ideas that we came up with due to the stimulation.” Other attendees also remarked on the productivity of the event and how instructive the break-out sessions were.
- Christa M. Ernst