Rice annouces a $10.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation to develop the Center for Biological and Environmental Nanotechnology (CBEN), one of 6 NSF-funded centers created to study the environmental, ethical and societal concerns associated with nanotechnology. These centers are the world's 1st academic institutions dedicated to examining the interaction of nanomaterials with living organisms and ecological systems.

In 2005 CBEN and the International Council on Nanotechnology launch an environmental health and safety database -- the 1st in the world -- to record findings related to the benefits and risks of nanotechnology. The database includes findings by Rice researchers, the US Department of Energy and the chemical industry and reaches technical and nontechnical audiences.

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