Journal of Nanosciences: Current Research

ISSN: 2572-0813

Open Access

Future Advancements ? Where will the Workforce Come from to Meet Future Nanotechnology R&D Needs?


Nancy Healy

Nanoscale science and engineering has advanced over the last decade at a very rapid pace. NanoCongress 2020 is addressing future advances in nanotechnology over a wide range of nano topics yet one “future area” is minimally addressed at this conference, and missing from most other nanofocused conferences e.g., - the future workforce needed to keep pace with this field’s growth. It has been estimated that by 2020 nanotechnology will need 2 million workers worldwide with another five million in supporting roles. Rocco and Bainbridge (2016) also ask: “What are the most pressing research and education issues? How can we develop a transforming national strategy to enhance individual capabilities and overall societal outcomes?” This presentation will discuss strategies that have been successful in developing a workforce pipeline from K through gray. In the US, the National Science Foundation has funded numerous nanotechnology education programs focusing on developing a nanoenabled workforce and an educated public that supports the safe development of nanotechnologies. This presentation will present examples of successful programs such as our Research Experience for Undergraduates. This program’s participants are part of a longitudinal study spanning back to 1997 and encompassing ~1500 students. Over half of these interns are in nanotechnology related fields and 90% in STEM. Some of these students have participated in a second year international program to develop globally aware researchers. To continue to be successful in creating and maintaining a nano-workforce it will be necessary to have joint efforts of academia, industry, and government.


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