A new report from the public policy research arm of the U.S. Congress provides an overview of federal research and development (R & D) in nanotechnology; environmental, health and safety concerns; and U.S. competitiveness in the field. According to the Congressional Research Service, Congress has appropriated nearly $21.8 billion for nanotechnology R & D since the inception of the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) in 2000, and President Barack Obama (D) has requested $1.4 billion in NNI funding for FY2017.

“Proponents assert that nanotechnology has the potential to bring revolutionary products to market, reshaping existing industries and creating new ones,” concludes the report. “These products may bring significant economic and social benefits to the United States and to the world; however, substantial research, development, and innovation- related hurdles remain before these benefits might be realized.”