New York -- The U.S. Senate passed a version of the Nanotechnology Research and Development Act (Senate Bill 189) that was negotiated with the House Science Committee and had the backing of the NanoBusiness Alliance. The House is expected to pass the bill shortly and send it on to the President, who is expected to sign it, says a statement from the Alliance.

The Bill puts the President's National Nanotechnology Initiative into law and authorizes $3.7 billion over the next four years for the program. The bill also requires the creation of research centers, education and training efforts, research into the societal and ethical consequences of nanotechnology, and efforts to transfer technology into the marketplace.

According to the NanoBusiness Alliance statement, the National Science Foundation estimated that nanotechnology applications may be worth more than $1 trillion in the global economy in little more than a decade.