The NACK National Network for Nanotechnology Workforce Development

Project: Research project

Project Details


The National ATE Center for Nanotechnology Applications and Career Knowledge (NACK) is creating the 'NACK Network', a designation that reflects the philosophy, structure, and operation to be developed across the U.S. The objectives are enhanced national coordination and dissemination of micro-nanofabrication workforce educational resources, programs, and activities, and enhanced growth of the US nanotechnology workforce. The methods to be employed include pressing forward the NACK approaches of (1) resource sharing among community colleges as well as among community colleges and research universities; (2) providing course materials that deliver a core set of industry-recommended nanotechnology skills; (3) stressing broad student preparation for careers in any industry utilizing micro- or nanotechnology; and (4) developing economically viable, quality nanotechnology education across the U.S. NACK Network methods also include further expansion of its alliance of community college/university and community college/community college resource-sharing hubs, including the addition of virtual hubs.

To support this network and all U.S. community college nanotechnology education efforts, the Network offers up-dated and free-of-charge core skills course lecture and lab materials, recruiting materials, retention and completion approaches, web-accessible equipment capability, and faculty development workshop curricula at its web site In addition the NACK Network is developing and disseminating an assessment rubric for its core skill course lecture and lab materials, and continues to work with industry to have its core skills institutionalized into industry standards. The NACK Network continues to offer its well-received faculty development workshops and is further expanding its dissemination methodologies at with enhanced functionality and the further enhancement of social networking tools. Recruitment, retention, and education completion are key NACK Network-wide endeavors and include new tasks addressing these issues as they impact veterans, Hispanics, African-Americans, and women.

Intellectual Merit: The intellectual merit of NACK's activities lies in their addressing, researching, experimenting with, and evaluating effective-practice approaches for (1) motivating students from across the U.S. social and geographic spectrum to consider careers in nanotechnology; (2) enhancing student retention, completion, and future career opportunities; (3) defining and evolving a model nanotechnology workforce education program, and (4) helping to develop economically sustainable nanotechnology workforce programs in colleges. Based on positive feedback on the intellectual content of its products and services, the continuation has a clear vision of what the community values and needs.

Broader Impacts: The NACK Network materials, practices and services are having a broad impact across the US. Their ready-availability at is strengthening secondary and community college education, in particular, and STEM education, in general. NACK workshops bring faculty and administrators together from across the country and have resulted in a better national understanding of nanotechnology education demands and requirements, approaches, resources, and sustainability issues. In addition, NACK's partnering/resource-sharing approach is a model for all aspects of science and technology education. The NACK Network establishes a nation-wide experiential basis for effective, working, community college/community college and community college/research university resource sharing relationships.

In their totality, the intellectual merit and broad impact of the NACK Network activities are profoundly important to the nation's nanotechnology workforce, and to the global competitiveness of U.S. industry.

Effective start/end date9/1/128/31/16


  • National Science Foundation: $4,601,667.00


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