The Senate has introduced similar legislation.

The House vote, held May 7, aims to coordinate and fund research and development programs by numerous federal organizations including the National Science Foundation, the Dept. of Energy, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

The bill aims to keep the U.S. competitive in the field, according to sponsors and House Science Committee Chairman Sherwood Boehlert, R-N.Y.

The bill okayed by the House creates an interagency committee -- which will report annually to Congress -- to oversee funds use, and increases university funding for research and partnerships with corporations on commercialization of nanotechnology products. Another bill stipulation: creation of an advisory panel to examine social and ethical issues related to nanotechnology. n