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R&D Proposals Sought for New Sensing Technologies to Monitor Infrastructure

From NIST Tech Beat: July 9, 2008

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Contact: Michael Baum

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announced today that it is seeking proposals for high-risk research projects to develop innovative technologies for inspecting, monitoring and evaluating critical components of the nation’s roadways, bridges, and drinking and wastewater systems. The competition for cost-shared research and development (R&D) support is the first to be announced by NIST’s newly established Technology Innovation Program (TIP) in an effort to address critical societal challenges.

NIST announced that, based on FY 2008 funds, it expects to award approximately $9 million in first-year funding for R&D projects focused on new, efficient, accurate, low-cost and reliable sensors and related technologies that provide quantitative assessments of the structural integrity or degree of deterioration of bridges, roads, water mains and wastewater collection systems. The competition, program officials said, addresses a critical national need for improved sensing technologies to help local, state, and national authorities more cost-effectively monitor and maintain the Nation’s vast public infrastructure, some portions of which have been in place for many years and are rapidly and dangerously aging.

TIP was established by the 2007 America COMPETES Act to support, promote, and accelerate innovation in the United States through high-risk, high-reward research in areas of critical national need. The merit-based competitive program can fund cost-shared R&D projects by single small-sized or medium-sized businesses and joint ventures that also may include institutions of higher education, non-profit research organizations and national laboratories. 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.

Proposals for the current TIP competition must be received by NIST by 3 p.m. EDT, Thursday, Sept. 4, 2008. Proposers may submit proposals by paper or electronically through the Grants.gov Web site. Review, selection and award processing is expected to be completed by the end of November 2008. For more details and a list of upcoming public meetings to provide general information on the competition, see “New Program To Fund Monitoring, Inspection Technologies For Public Infrastructure.”

Additional information on the TIP 2008 competition also can be found on the competition Web page at www.nist.gov/tip/comp08_apply.html.