Technology Administration FY 2003 Budget Request Highlights
Advances in technology underpin economic growth and gains in industrial performance, drive improvements in national security capabilities, and contribute to progress in nearly every other sphere of public interest-health care, education, transportation, energy, the environment, and more. Economic studies provide a telling story of technology's vital contribution to the nation's well-being: Since World War II, technology is credited with fueling at least half of U.S. economic growth and, thereby, raising the standard of living enjoyed by Americans.
In the aftermath of the September 11th terrorist attacks, President Bush is marshalling the nation's technology resources to help the United States win the war on terrorism, strengthen homeland protections, revitalize the economy and create new jobs. Using these important resources to full advantage requires coordination across federal agencies and cooperation between the public and private sectors.
The Technology Administration (TA) facilitates a high level of coordination and cooperation across federal agencies as well as between the public and private sectors to anticipate and meet challenges and to realize opportunities spawned by industry, university, and government research and development (R&D) laboratories.
As the only federal agency focused entirely on maximizing the leadership role of the United States in innovation and commercialization of new technologies, TA serves as the technology community's portal to the federal government. It is the chief advocate of the Administration's technology policy priorities. These important responsibilities are carried out through the:
To enable TA to carry out this agenda of technology-policy activities and innovation-promoting R&D, the President requests the following funding levels for FY 2003:
Office of the Under Secretary for Technology/Office of Technology Policy
National Institute of Standards and Technology
National Technical Information Service
Specific budget proposals are described below.
President Bush requests $8.1 million for the Office of the Under Secretary for Technology and the Office of Technology Policy (US/OTP). This request supports US/OTP in its work with the private sector to analyze, develop, coordinate, and advocate national policies that maximize technology's contribution to the war on terrorism, homeland security, and economic growth and security. More than ever before, technological leadership is vital to U.S. national interests. America's success in meeting its security and economic goals depends largely on our ability to harness the power and promise of leading-edge advances in technology.
The FY 2003 budget request will support the Under Secretary for Technology in overseeing the Technology Administration's operating units. The Office of the Under Secretary for Technology provides policy guidance to the Secretary of Commerce and the Technology Administration's component agencies (NIST and NTIS) and serves as an advocate for innovation and industrial competitiveness within and outside government. The Under Secretary serves on the Executive Committee of the Committee on Technology within the President's National Science and Technology Council, coordinates the civilian technology efforts of federal agencies and helps to shape federal civilian R&D priorities based upon TA's analyses and view of industry. The Under Secretary also provides counsel to the Secretary of Commerce on all matters affecting innovation, and coordinates with counterpart offices in the trade and economic agencies to create unified, integrated trade and technology policies. Pursuant to these roles, the Under Secretary oversees and utilizes the analytic, outreach, and policy development expertise of the Office of Technology Policy (OTP) and the Office of Space Commercialization (OSC).
The Office of Technology Policy works in partnership with the private sector to develop and advocate national policies and initiatives to build America's economic strength and security. The OTP administers the National Medal of Technology, the highest honor awarded by the President of the United States for technological innovation. In addition, within the OTP, the Office of Technology Competitiveness promotes domestic technological competitiveness in four interrelated policy areas: technology development and transfer, business innovation, state and local efforts to promote technology-based economic growth, and work force preparation for a technology-driven future. The office works closely with industry, conducts issue analyses, disseminates reports and other useful information, and supports the Assistant Secretary in developing and advocating policy tools that can advance U.S. innovation, technological growth, and competitiveness. Within OTP, the Office of International Technology promotes international technology partnerships to strengthen U.S. competitiveness and advocates policies to advance U.S. technology in the global economy.
US/OTP plans to build upon the accomplishments made during the last year on clearly defined priorities set for FY 2002 and 2003. Within the last year, US/OTP has:
To achieve its goals, US/OTP has drawn up an action plan with clearly defined priorities for FY 2002 and 2003:
Goal: Engage U.S. industry and the nation's science and technology (S&T) community on salient issues and policy needs.
For the past century, the National Institute of Standards and Technology has helped to ensure America's technological superiority and economic prosperity through myriad advances in the measurements, standards, and technology needed by U.S. industries to make world-class products, from the most secure data encryption systems to highly effective new medical treatments and structural safety advances. NIST research, products, and services promote technological innovation—the driving force for about 50 percent of U.S. economic growth and a key to enhancements in national security and homeland security.
The budget requested for fiscal year (FY) 2003 will enable NIST to develop cutting-edge science and technology infrastructure needed to strengthen and safeguard America's economic foundations and security capabilities now and in the future. While the Administration's FY 2003 budget request to the Congress, $577.5 million, represents a decrease of about $103.2 million (15 percent) compared to the FY 2002 appropriation of about $680.8 million, key science and technology activities increase by $76 million.
The NIST FY 2003 budget request is divided into three appropriations:
Homeland Security: Standards, Technology, and Practices for Buildings and Emergency Responders ($2 million)
The United States witnessed unprecedented death and destruction on Sept. 11, 2001, with greater loss of life-including more than 350 emergency responders-in a single day than on any previous occasion since the battle at Antietam during the Civil War. The collapse of the World Trade Center (WTC) towers was the worst building disaster in human history. Engineers, emergency responders, and the general public did not anticipate, much less prepare for, such a catastrophe.
Shortly after the attacks on the World Trade Center, NIST building and fire researchers began assisting federal and local agencies to investigate the spread of fire through the buildings and their subsequent collapse. NIST used previously developed models along with preliminary information from videos of the attack and other sources to simulate the spread of fire and smoke in the buildings. A requested $2 million funding increase will enable NIST to support a portion of the research needs in this area. For example, further development and refinement of these simulation models are expected to improve understanding of structural fire protection as well as produce better operational guidance for first responders.
Fire played a critical and visible role in the WTC collapse and also contributed to damage in the Pentagon on Sept. 11. Current building design practices do not consider fire as a design condition or the consequences of injected fuels or other highly flammable materials. Architects, not engineers, specify fire protection in buildings, and the current testing standards are based on work carried out by NIST in the 1920s. NIST will address these issues to enable engineers to design for structural fire safety in the same way they design structures to resist earthquakes and high winds. NIST will develop predictive models coupling fire dynamics and structural response to account for real fire environments, performance of the entire structure, and performance of connections and interactions. NIST also will develop operational guidance for fire and emergency responders to improve mobility and help assure their safety during chemical and biological terrorist attacks.
Critical Information Technologies ($2 million)
The budget request includes a $2 million increase for the Program for Accelerating Critical Information Technologies to support the development of networked systems of embedded devices (EmNets) to detect, prevent, and respond to natural and human-caused disasters. As computing device costs decline and capabilities increase, devices and sensors will be embedded in buildings, office spaces, manufacturing floors, transportation medians, and appliances and will be interconnected using wired or wireless networks. EmNets could offer enormous benefits to personnel responding to a disaster, providing substantial amounts of information in real time that could help to save lives and resources.
In consultation with emergency response organizations, NIST will develop an effective prototype implementation of emerging standards for EmNets with a focus on critical infrastructure protection for cybernetic building systems; develop EmNet technologies and testbed and simulation tools; accelerate the development of relevant critical application techniques such as structured data mining; and lay the groundwork for the development of appropriate "lightweight" cryptographic algorithms.
Computer Security ($1 million)
The budget request includes a $1 million increase for the Computer Security Expert Assist Team, which is based at NIST and provides assistance to other federal agencies on a cost-reimbursable basis. The complex information systems used to ensure military security, enable financial transactions, and conduct essentially all government functions require protection from both natural and purposeful disruptions. Federal agencies are taking action to improve security, but most do not understand what actions to take or in what order. NIST staff members are recognized as world leaders in all aspects of information security issues. The funding supports the administrative cost of maintaining a small team, the methodology, and Web page.
Health Care ($3 million)
U.S. health care expenditures were estimated at $1.15 trillion in 1999, about 13.5 percent of the gross domestic product. Advances in biotechnology, information systems, and nanoscale devices could enhance health care quality and reduce its costs, but turning them into marketable products and services requires advances in measurements, standards, and data to help ensure the accuracy of diagnoses, improve manufacturing efficiency and market acceptance, and hasten regulatory approval. A requested increase of $3 million will be used to expand NIST measurement support to facilitate the safe and effective diagnosis and treatment of disease, foster the development of new health care products and services, and reduce costs by minimizing incorrect diagnoses and the need to repeat expensive tests.
NIST will focus on in vitro diagnostics (IVD) and tissue engineering. An IVD device is used for laboratory analysis of specimens, such as glucose or cholesterol monitors. Under a European Union (EU) directive, products sold by U.S. companies have to meet certain requirements, but there are no national or international standards for many of the potential analytes covered by this directive. NIST will work with the U.S. College of American Pathologists and EU counterparts to establish a program to harmonize the development of IVD standards. NIST also will expand its efforts to develop standards for the most important analytes for major diagnostic markers for heart attacks.
The nascent tissue engineering industry develops products such as synthetic skin, prosthetic implants, and gene therapy. Further progress in this field will require measurements and standards to improve applications through better tissue typing, improved prosthetic materials, mechanisms to control the regeneration of tissues, and safe modification of genetic effects. NIST will couple efforts in materials science and cell biology to develop reference materials with varying surface properties and cells that signal their functional state to map cellular responses to new materials. NIST will provide the standards needed to identify and sort different types of cells and verify their genetic health, and to establish procedures for producing and storing engineered tissues.
Nanotechnology ($4 million)
Nanotechnology—the science and technology of the tiniest objects made by humans—is expected to have an impact rivaling that of semiconductor electronics and antibiotics. It involves the development of new devices and materials by the manipulation of atoms and molecules individually or in small groups, for applications in most major industrial sectors. These nanodevices or nanomaterials often have unique properties, and their small size and low cost will expand the reach of new technologies to all areas of the economy. For example, "lab on a chip" devices will allow even rural areas to have the most advanced health care technologies.
NIST is a world leader in nanotechnology and a principal in the multi-agency National Nanotechnology Initiative, which seeks to ensure U.S. leadership in this field. A requested budget increase of $4 million will be used to support the development of nanotechnologies in fields such as health care, semiconductors, information technology, national security, biotechnology, and magnetic data storage. NIST will develop new standard reference materials, data, and measurement systems for the nanoworld to enable the private sector to develop and commercialize innovative products. The technical risks in this field are high because even an individual molecule out of place may cause a device to fail.
To support both near-term and long-range applications, NIST will develop measurements and standards for nanodevices, such as lab-on-a-chip instruments for diagnosing disease; nanomagnetics to help the magnetic data storage industry achieve higher storage density and access speed; nanomanipulation to assist in the development of quantum logic devices and self-assembled systems; and nanocharacterization including tools for understanding nanoscale devices.
This work will help U.S. industry maintain and enhance its leadership of the computer and peripheral device market and telecommunications industry and improve the U.S. share of the magnetic data storage market.
Neutron Science ($6 million)
The properties of neutrons make them ideal tools to study materials and systems with atom-level detail without damaging or changing the object being observed. The production and proper use of neutrons is highly complex and can be done only at facilities with highly specialized instruments and skilled, experienced staff. The NIST Center for Neutron Research is the only U.S. neutron center competitive with facilities in Europe and Japan and is the most cost-effective such center in the world. The use of neutrons for measurements in chemistry, materials science, biology, physics, and engineering has expanded into new areas unforeseen when the center was designed, and the number of participants has more than quadrupled over the past decade.
A budget increase of $6 million is requested to meet the increased demand and expand operations to ensure that the United States remains competitive in this research field. NIST will build staff expertise for the development of new instruments and capabilities and strengthen program areas, such as neutron trace analysis to develop new, ultrahigh-sensitivity methods to detect chemicals and other substances; neutron chemical spectroscopy to study details of interactions of chemicals with porous and layered materials; and neutron imaging to conduct two- and three-dimensional studies of materials, devices, and biological systems as well as studies of very large molecules such as proteins.
Building Competence for Advanced Measurements Program ($4.7 million)
The budget request includes a $4.7 million increase to speed the development of cutting-edge measurement capabilities. This program, which supports fundamental research to develop and maintain state-of-the-art knowledge in areas of science and engineering related to measurement techniques and data, has been a crucial part of NIST laboratory activities and a principal mechanism for initiating new programs, including world-class facilities and Nobel Prize-winning science. New funds are needed to develop additional and interdisciplinary projects enabling NIST to keep pace with and respond to the increasingly complex measurement needs of advanced industries, shrinking time frames for technology development, and rapidly escalating costs associated with advanced measurements research.
Advanced Measurement Laboratory (AML) ($35 million for equipment, $15 million for fit-up)
When completed in 2003, the AML will be the world's best measurement laboratory, carrying out stringent measurements required by the semiconductor, biotechnology, telecommunications, and other high-technology industries. This work requires not only environments that precisely control vibration, temperature, humidity, and air cleanliness but also new and highly sophisticated scientific equipment for making fundamental measurements and ever more precise standards, and advanced "clean rooms." The AML will support the U.S. semiconductor industry in manufacturing new generations of devices that are smaller and faster, including development of new materials for a wide range of applications and certification of length measurements to an accuracy of 1.5 nanometers or better.
About 40 major equipment systems are needed—$35 million is requested for FY 2003 to buy the first 15 systems so that the equipment will be in place as the building is occupied beginning in FY 2003. The new equipment will support industrial and scientific needs such as lithography at feature sizes of 100 nanometers and less; electron beam processing that can make even smaller feature sizes and can be used to make standards for nanotechnology; 1-nanometer resolution comparisons of surface morphologies and crystal structures at low beam voltages; determination of the unit of mass in terms of quantum standards; and very precise measurements of electrical quantities.
In addition, $15 million is requested as part of the new construction budget for final lab-by-lab fit-up and relocation into the AML. This is the lab-by-lab process of the design, installation, and extension of mechanical and electrical services to allow researchers to hook up their equipment and to relocate equipment and furnishings from old laboratories.
Boulder Construction ($17.3 million)
NIST maintains about 50 specialized laboratory, office, and support buildings on campuses in Gaithersburg, Md., and Boulder, Colo. The majority of the buildings in Boulder are almost 50 years old and, if current conditions continue, soon will fail to adequately support the needs of U.S. industry and science. NIST has a master facilities plan to guide the replacement, renovation, or repair of these buildings so that the Institute can continue to provide the best possible measurement systems and standards. Information from several studies has been used to reevaluate and reprioritize facilities needs.
Facility-related problems at the Boulder campus include severe temperature fluctuations and power interruptions that often threaten the quality of NIST data; power outages, spikes, and brownouts that damage sensitive equipment; and poor heating and air conditioning controls that have prevented the on-time delivery of specialized superconducting chips to defense contractors, instrument makers, and other NIST customers. The requested FY 2003 appropriation includes $11.8 million for the first phase of construction of a new central utility plant to supply filtered power, heating, and cooling to the laboratories; and $5.5 million for a new primary electrical service.
NIST "continues to demonstrate that the intelligent application of research in physical sciences to a wide range of societal changes contributes to a higher quality of life for everyone."
The NIST Laboratories provide industry and the science and technology community with the measurement capabilities, standards, evaluated reference data, and test methods that together constitute the equivalent of a common language needed at nearly every stage of a technical activity. NIST provides standards-related information and assistance to about 20,000 organizations and individuals every year. A key measurement and standards function is the development and maintenance of accurate weights and measures that underpin about $4.5 trillion of retail and wholesale U.S. trade, enhance economic efficiency and lower costs.
NIST measurement methods and standards support advances in the $547 billion electronics sector, providing the tools essential to semiconductor manufacturing and the development and use of diverse technologies ranging from magnetic data recording components to the application of sensors and other technologies to forensics, security screening, and other homeland security objectives. NIST supplies the national reference standards that ensure the accuracy of electric power meters in every U.S. home and business.
NIST operates the foremost U.S. fire research laboratory and is the principal R&D agency working to reduce earthquake hazards through improved building codes, standards, and practices for structures and lifelines. NIST supports the U.S. information technology sector, which contributed $827 billion to the gross domestic product in 2000, by developing test methods, computer science and engineering tools that underpin metrology, and open testbeds for industrial collaboration on standards and next-generation information technologies.
NIST provides test and measurement methods, calibrations, reference data, and a technical research base for standards that facilitate interoperable manufacturing systems for the automotive, aircraft, and other industries. NIST calibration services assure that items made at different sites have compatible dimensions. Nearly half the total U.S. trade deficit results from imbalances in trade in mechanical products; NIST has the expertise to help U.S. mechanical manufacturing industries adopt advanced techniques to improve their competitive position.
NIST develops and disseminates national standards for time and frequency to meet critical needs in telecommunications, transportation, and positioning (including support for the Global Positioning System). Each day, NIST receives more than 300 million automated requests for time over the Internet. NIST scientists also seek to discover and measure phenomena that provide the basis for new concepts in computing, information storage, and time keeping. NIST generates, evaluates, compiles, and disseminates fundamental data on the properties of atoms, molecules, and radiation-data needed for the detection of hazardous substances, environmental monitoring and remediation, and efficiency and safety improvements for products and activities ranging from vehicles to power generation.
NIST provides national standards for the radioactive seeds used to treat prostate cancer, which strikes 180,000 men in the United States each year; for 11,000 U.S. mammography facilities, helping to assure the effectiveness of 26 million diagnostic mammograms annually; and for radioactive sources used in a promising research application to improve the efficacy of balloon angioplasty procedures. Each year, more than 1,600 researchers participate in studies at the NIST Center for Neutron Research, a world-class facility where unique instruments reveal the inner structure and dynamics of virtually any material.
In FY 2001 NIST participated in 174 Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs) focusing on collaborative R&D efforts of mutual interest with for-profit organizations, non-profit organizations (including universities), public and private foundations, state and local governments, and individuals. Since 1988, NIST has signed more than 950 CRADAs.
The FY 2003 appropriation for the NIST Laboratories will support further development of critical measurement technologies, methods, and services needed by the United States to promote technological progress, improve products and services, and enhance international competitiveness. For example, as part of their base programs, the NIST Laboratories plan to:
NIST helped to ensure that the Charters of Freedom—the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence—are preserved for future generations. In collaboration with the National Archives and Records Administration, NIST completed the design, fabrication, assembly, and testing of new encasements for the documents. These state-of-the-art encasements will preserve and secure the Charters documents against all types of environmental assault, including harmful light, oxygen, and humidity. Millions of Americans consider the three documents to be tangible, irreplaceable works of political genius and national patriotism. NIST has delivered the new encasements to the Archives, and the process to transfer the precious documents to the containers is under way.
Today's state-of-the-art computer chip includes several layers of copper "wiring" for on-chip electrical connections. NIST researchers have learned how to deposit defect-free copper wires into the ever thinner and ever deeper trenches required for future integrated circuits, meeting an important industrial need and allowing faster, smaller, and more efficient computers. A team of NIST metallurgists and electrochemists devised a copper-plating bath that can produce quality copper interconnects with the same trench-filling behavior as industry's proprietary systems. This has enabled the team to unravel the details of the electrochemistry process known as "superfilling," which allows tall, skinny wires to be produced defect-free and is key to creating reliable copper wiring for computer chips. In addition, the team has developed a simple computer model that is helping industry learn how to fabricate the wires in new, more efficient, but more difficult geometries.
Some 24,000 stab-resistant vests have been purchased based on the recently issued NIST/National Institute of Justice (NIJ) standard for stab-resistant personal protective gear. This body armor is designed to give officers the same degree of safety enjoyed by those who wear the bullet-resistant armor. This protective gear will be especially helpful for corrections officers, to whom the greatest danger is stab wounds from knives, picks, and hand-crafted shivs of all sorts. NIST engineers developed the stab-resistant body armor standard with assistance from their peers in England, where tough gun control laws make knives—rather than firearms—the greater threat to police and there is substantial experience in knife and stabbing research. Ballistic-resistant armor has saved the lives of more than 2,500 law enforcement officers since 1975, when the first such body armor meeting national standards-also developed by NIST for NIJ-was issued.
Based in part on NIST research, a new medical procedure curtails abnormal uterine bleeding, a troublesome ailment affecting many women, by freezing the problem tissue with a catheter that can reach temperatures of minus 150 degrees Celsius (minus 238 degrees Fahrenheit) and minus 190 degrees Celsius (minus 310 degrees Fahrenheit) at the tip. The new technique was developed under a cooperative research and development agreement between NIST and CryoGen, Inc., a California medical device company. Done as an outpatient procedure, the new treatment was successful in clinical trials and has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
Two NIST projects were recognized as among the 100 most innovative technologies of 2001 by Research and Development Magazine. The NIST recipients of the "R&D 100 Awards" were the developers of a device to help the blind access electronic books and the developers of a highly accurate method for determining the existence of the toxic pollutant mercury in environmental and clinical samples. Both technologies have the potential to generate economic impacts and improve the quality of life by improving information accessibility and helping to reduce hazardous contaminants in the environment.
"More than any other program, the Baldrige Quality Award is responsible for making quality a national priority and disseminating best practices across the United States."
The Baldrige National Quality Program helps U.S. businesses and other organizations continuously improve their competitiveness and productivity by adopting performance and quality management practices. The program helps many types of companies and organizations deliver ever-improving value to customers, while improving overall organizational effectiveness. It creates a performance excellence standard that fosters communications and sharing in the private sector, building networks to deliver performance and quality management information and services and to share lessons learned with other economic sectors.
Baldrige award applicants receive 300 to 1,000 hours of review by at least six experts on the board of examiners, giving the applicants valuable insights. The experts provide a detailed feedback report on the organization's strengths and opportunities for improvement. Since 1988, 41 organizations have received the Baldrige award, which is given in the categories of manufacturing, service, small business, education, and health care. Many thousands of organizations use the Baldrige criteria internally to assess and improve their performance.
The proposed FY 2003 appropriation of $5.8 million will be used to manage the annual award competition, conduct a conference at which Baldrige award winners will share their performance excellence strategies, maintain a comprehensive database on state and local quality awards, and facilitate information sharing among all sectors of the U.S. economy.
"ATP means the opportunity to take a revolutionary idea and drive it against all odds to make it a reality."
A high rate of innovation in American industry is crucial to sustaining U.S. global competitiveness, and innovation depends on continued investment in long-term, high-risk research. By co-funding early-stage projects, the ATP encourages timely private investments in innovative technologies that have the potential for broad national benefit. The ATP also encourages industry to take on longer-term, higher-risk projects that will sustain U.S. competitive advantage in high-technology products and services. The program also promotes partnerships among companies of all sizes, universities, and other organizations to undertake research that is too costly or risky for individual companies.
ATP-funded technologies have enabled industry to develop products and processes such as a new method for fabricating large, amorphous silicon devices for medical imaging systems that enable better and faster X-ray exams; a bench-top bioreactor capable of growing large amounts of human cells for cell replacement therapy; and prototype bridge beams made of fiber-reinforced polymer composites-lightweight, corrosion resistant, and less expensive to fabricate and install-that will improve bridge durability.
The ATP has a strict selection process, which industry enthusiastically supports. The awards are made on the basis of a competitive procedure that considers the scientific and technical merit of each proposal and its potential benefits to the U.S. economy. Each year, the ATP conducts a general competition open to proposals involving any area of technology. The evaluation process begins during the first year of each award and continues for six years beyond the completion of the project. The FY 2003 budget request of $107.9 million provides funding for awards in FY 2003, as well as for ongoing projects selected in previous years. Reforms also will be implemented to improve the program.
More than 580 projects, including 185 joint ventures, have been announced since the inception of the ATP, involving a commitment of over $1.8 billion in NIST funds and $1.75 billion in private funds. More than 1,200 organizations have been involved as leads or formal participants, and another 1,200 as subcontractors. More than 160 universities have participated in 310 projects. More than 60 percent of all ATP-funded projects are led by small businesses. By creating opportunities for new, world-class products, services, and processes, the ATP benefits not only individual project participants but also other companies and industries and, ultimately, consumers and taxpayers.
The MEP is "an important resource for helping smaller manufacturers achieve the kinds of world-class gains formerly limited to large companies."
Numbering more than 355,000, small manufacturing establishments make vital contributions to the U.S. economy. About 99 percent of the nation's manufacturers are small to medium-sized, defined as having fewer than 500 employees. They account for over half the total value of U.S. production and employ nearly 12 million people, more than two-thirds of all U.S. manufacturing employment. These high-skilled jobs pay an average of 50 percent more than retail salaries.
The MEP strengthens the technological capability, productivity, and global competitiveness of small manufacturing establishments by providing access to industrial resources, services, and expertise. Centered on best practices, manufacturing methodologies, and training, these resources, services, and expertise are provided through a nationwide network of manufacturing extension centers. More than 400 MEP centers and field offices serving all 50 states and Puerto Rico help small manufacturing establishments through the cost-shared, cooperative efforts of NIST, state and local governments, and local extension service providers. Each center uses the network to provide cost-effective services that are responsive to the needs of local manufacturers. The MEP has assisted more than 107,000 firms to date.
The $12.9 million FY 2003 budget request would return the partnership to its original plan, which called for the phase out of federal monies to centers after six years of funding. Federal funding will continue to be provided to two centers that are less than six years old; the MEP will focus on providing a central coordination role. The partnership currently recovers roughly one-third the annual operating budgets of the centers through fees collected from client companies. Approximately another third of operating budgets comes from state and local funding. The MEP will continue to pursue mechanisms that encourage and promote revenue generation to minimize the overall federal investment while ensuring that the mission of serving small manufacturers is not compromised.
Rigorous, open, technically sound, and competitive processes are the hallmark of NIST's work. Laboratory programs are planned and implemented in cooperation with industry and rigorously evaluated to ensure that industry and taxpayers are receiving the greatest possible return on their investment. For example, a permanent Visiting Committee on Advanced Technology meets quarterly to review and assess NIST's overall programs and priorities. In addition, diverse and complementary sources of performance data are used to evaluate NIST's effectiveness and expertise. Results consistently show that NIST's infrastructural technology and technical services have a powerful positive impact on U.S. firms and the overall economy.
A comprehensive evaluation system for the NIST Laboratories is based on a combination of direct feedback from industrial customers, external peer review, quantitative output tracking, and economic impact studies of specific programs. Since 1959, the National Research Council has managed panels of industry, academic, and government experts who annually review NIST laboratory programs. The most recent review states that the labs "are maintaining the overall high level of technical quality for which their work is known. Some programs are outstanding, leading the world in new areas of science and technology, or responding to specific measurement-related roadblocks in important industrial processes, or both."
Quantitative performance measures represent the production of key outputs from the laboratories that will have an impact on U.S. industry and the economy. For example, in FY 2001, NIST calibrated more than 3,100 items, providing quality assurance for an even larger private-sector activity that disseminates standards traceable to the national and international measurement systems. In FY 2001 NIST made available for sale more than 1,300 different Standard Reference Materials—certified "rulers" that companies, government agencies, and others use to check the accuracy of their most exacting measurements. NIST also offered about 65 different standard reference data collections, which provide evaluated, high-quality data used by scientists and by many industries for applications such as improving the design of industrial processes, the quality of materials, and the performance of advanced information technology systems.
Economic impact studies of NIST's laboratory programs show high rates of return and important benefits to industry. A 2000 study on NIST standards and calibration services for measuring the energy of laser beams showed that the benefit-to-cost ratio was 11-to-1 for primary calibration services and 9-to-1 for the high-speed metrology aspect of this program. These services are important for activities ranging from industrial processes to safety and quality control in a variety of industries that design, purchase, or use laser beams. NIST's leadership of an international effort to develop and implement an intrinsic volt standard, based on superconducting Josephson junctions, also has important benefits. A 2001 study quantified the economic benefits from the impact on new sales of voltage-measuring equipment. NIST research and technology transfer activities resulted in an estimated net benefit to the U.S. economy of $45 million (net present value in 2000 dollars). The program produced a benefit-to-cost ratio of 5-to-1.
Recently, NIST measured the optical properties of special materials used to make lenses and other components in deep-ultraviolet (DUV) lithography systems needed to make computer chips smaller and faster. NIST measurements revealed previously unknown materials properties that will critically affect the new DUV systems. Without the NIST data, new lithography equipment (about a $6 billion annual market) critical to the production of some $120 billion worth of semiconductor devices would not work.
The BNQP is evaluated by a Board of Overseers, a prestigious group of national quality and business experts, in addition to other annual reviews provided by the panel of judges and the Foundation for the Baldrige National Quality Award. The BNQP also uses an improvement questionnaire and outputs tabulations such as the number of state and local quality award programs supported (57 in FY 2002). In a rigorous assessment of the effect of the BNQP on corporate performance, a formal economic impact study published in 2001 estimated the total economic benefits at almost $25 billion, for a benefit-to-cost ratio of 207-to-1.
Ultimately, the BNQP can be judged by the performance of companies that follow its lead. A NIST stock investment study shows, for the seventh year in a row, that quality management can result in impressive returns. When a hypothetical $1,000 was "invested" in the Standard and Poor's (S&P) 500 and in each of the 24 companies that have won the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the winning companies' stock outperformed the S&P 500 by about 4.2-to-1. This comparison suggests that successful companies, from the market's standpoint, tend to be those that implement quality and performance management practices.
Thousands of other organizations of all sizes and in all sectors of the economy have benefited by using the criteria as the foundation for performance management and quality improvement. Since 1988, nearly 2 million paper copies of the Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence have been distributed. From February 2001 through the end of FY 2001, the online versions of the three types of Baldrige Criteria (business, health care, and education) were downloaded more than 400,000 times. In addition, Baldrige recipients have given more than 30,000 presentations reaching thousands of organizations.