The Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is seeking public comments on its proposed regulations (rule) for operating the Technology Innovation Program (TIP) created as part of the America COMPETES Act passed in August. The proposed rule describing evaluation and award criteria and other specifics of the new competitive funding program was published in the Federal Register on March 7, 2008.
TIP was established "to support, promote, and accelerate innovation in the United States through high-risk, high-reward research in areas of critical national need." The proposed rule covers research grants and/or cooperative agreements to single small- or medium-sized businesses and joint ventures. "High-risk, high-reward research" is defined as research that has the potential for yielding transformational results with far-ranging or wide-ranging implications; addresses areas of critical national need that support, promote, and accelerate innovation in the United States and is within NIST's areas of technical competence; and is too novel or spans too diverse a range of disciplines to fare well in the traditional peer-review process for grants.
TIP awards will be cost-shared and made on the basis of merit competitions, as detailed in the proposed rule. Single, for-profit, companies or joint ventures made up of companies, institutions of higher education, nonprofit research institutes and/or government laboratories other than NIST are eligible for TIP support, with some restrictions on the size of companies, ownership and the types of research. TIP awards will be 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. Other operational features of the TIP, including the handling of intellectual property rights, reporting and auditing requirements and performance monitoring and evaluation, also are detailed in the proposed rule.
TIP plans to conduct an FY 2008 competition after publication of the final rule.
To read the legislation authorizing TIP, see "P.L.110-69, Sec. 3012 Technology Innovation Program" (requires Acrobat Reader, a free download.)
* Docket No. 071106659-7661-01, "Technology Innovation Program". Federal Register V. 73, Num. 46, March 7, 2008, p.12305