The report noted Penn State's leadership in U.S. nanotechnology education and workforce development began in 2001 when the University became the home to the National Science Foundation (NSF) Regional Center for Nanofabrication Manufacturing Education. A $5 million NSF grant in 2008 created a national center, the Nanotechnology Applications Career and Knowledge (NACK) Network, to succeed the regional center.
Led by Stephen Fonash, Kunkle Chair Professor of Engineering Science at Penn State, the NACK Network provides national coordination of micro- and nano-fabrication workforce development programs and activities on behalf of the NSF. The center assists educational institutions and industry across the nation to work together to develop and delivery micro- and nano-technology education programs, including incumbent worker training programs and helps to develop national education program and worker skill standards in micro- and nanotechnology.
PCAST is an advisory group of the country's leading scientists and engineers, appointed by the president to augment the science and technology advice available to him from inside the White House and from cabinet departments and other federal agencies.