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2009 Technology R&D Competition to Address Civil Infrastructure, Manufacturing

For Immediate Release: March 26, 2009

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Contact: Michael Baum
301-975-2763

GAITHERSBURG, Md.—The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) today announced a 2009 competition for multiyear research funding in two major areas of national interest, civil infrastructure and manufacturing, under its Technology Innovation Program (TIP). TIP expects to provide cost-shared funding for approximately 25 new R&D projects.

TIP promotes technological innovation by providing funding support to challenging, high-risk research projects that address critical national needs. The merit-based, competitive program can fund R&D projects by single small-sized or medium-sized businesses or by joint ventures that also may include institutions of higher education, nonprofit research organizations and national laboratories. The 2009 TIP competition is open to projects developing new technologies for the practical application of advanced materials, including nanomaterials, advanced alloys and composites, in manufacturing; and the monitoring or retrofit of major public infrastructure systems, including water systems, dams and levees, and bridges, roads and highways.

Manufacturing

TIP officials plan to allocate approximately $15 million in first-year funding for R&D projects in manufacturing that would enable better, more cost-effective use of advanced materials in innovative products. New and improved materials underlie many new product innovations. High-strength alloys, aluminum and magnesium are used to build stronger, lighter and safer vehicles; superalloys are used to make higher efficiency gas turbines; composites make larger, more efficient wind turbine blades and higher performance aircraft; and nanomaterials are finding their way into better performing batteries, energy storage devices, high voltage transmission lines and healthcare applications.

The 2009 TIP competition addresses improved technologies to produce these new materials and to rapidly integrate them into products while maintaining the material’s unique properties. TIP is seeking proposals for new technologies for predictive modeling to enable improved material properties and better process design tools and for improved methods to scale up advanced materials production from laboratory processes and to integrate advanced materials into products. This 2009 TIP competition will be limited to technologies for nanomaterials; composites; and superalloys, alloys and smart materials—the three classes of materials considered most critical to potential growth areas for manufacturing. Further details of this segment of the 2009 competition are in the competition white paper "Accelerating the Incorporation of Materials Advances into Manufacturing Processes" available at www.nist.gov/tip/upload/manuf_wp_032009.pdf.

Civil infrastructure

TIP officials plan to allocate approximately $10 million in first-year funding for the civil infrastructure category of the competition in two specific areas of research. The first targets innovative, cost-effective sensor and sensor-network technologies for non-destructive testing and monitoring of the structural health of major infrastructure components. This work echoes the 2008 TIP competition (see “New Program to Fund Monitoring, Inspection Technologies for Public Infrastructure”), but emphasizes technologies to detect corrosion, cracking, delamination and other structural damage in water resources systems such as water and wastewater pipelines, dams, levees and waterway locks, as well as bridges and roadways.

Improved sensors and monitoring systems will address a widespread need to better prioritize maintenance work so that the neediest structures are repaired first. The second focus of the civil infrastructure funding area, new technologies for repair and retrofit, deals with how to do a better job of repairing and upgrading existing structures. The emphasis here is on practical technologies—including both novel materials and cost-effective methods for installing them—that would provide enhanced performance or longer service life than existing repair and retrofit materials and practices.

Additional details of the TIP 2009 competition for civil infrastructure technologies are in the competition white paper "Advanced Sensing Technologies and Advanced Repair Materials for the Infrastructure: Water Systems, Dams, Levees, Bridges, Roads, and Highways" available at www.nist.gov/tip/upload/cnn_white_paperfinal.pdf.

Small- and medium-sized businesses, institutions of higher education, nonprofit research organizations and national laboratories are eligible for TIP support, with some restrictions on the size of companies, ownership and the types of research that are eligible. TIP awards are limited to no more than $3 million total over three years for a single company project and no more than $9 million total over five years for a joint venture.

The due date for submission of proposals to the 2009 competition is 3 p.m. Eastern Time, Tuesday, June 23, 2009. Proposals may be submitted electronically through Grants.gov (search for Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) program 11-616 or Funding Opportunity Number 2009-TIP-01) or on paper to National Institute of Standards and Technology, Technology Innovation Program, 100 Bureau Drive, Stop 4701, Gaithersburg, MD 20899-4701. Review, selection and award processing is expected to be completed by the end of November 2009.

Additional sources of information on this competition include:

• the full Federal Funding Opportunity (FFO) announcement, available at Grants.gov or the TIP Web site at www.nist.gov/tip/upload/2009_ffo_final1_amendment.pdf ;

• the March 2009 Technology Innovation Program Proposal Preparation Kit (required for submitting a TIP proposal) available at www.nist.gov/tip/helpful.html; and

• additional information on the Technology Innovation Program at www.nist.gov/tip.

Proposers’ conference

NIST will hold a public meeting for prospective TIP proposers and other interested parties on April 8, 2009, 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. Eastern time, at the NIST facility in Gaithersburg, Md. This meeting will provide general information regarding TIP and the competition process, including TIP eligibility and cost-sharing requirements, evaluation and award criteria, the selection process, and the general characteristics of a competitive TIP proposal. Proprietary technical discussions about specific project ideas will not be discussed. Registration information is available at www.nist.gov/public_affairs/confpage/090408.htm. The meeting also will be webcast. Login information for the webcast will be posted on the TIP Web site.

Additional TIP Proposers’ conferences may be scheduled and will be announced on the TIP Web site.

As a non-regulatory agency, NIST promotes U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life.