The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is interested in detailed pitches for critical national and societal needs that could be the basis for new competitions for research funding under its Technology Innovation Program (TIP).
TIP promotes innovation in the United States through cost-shared funding for high-risk, high-reward research 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. Competitions for TIP funding target large national and societal needs that arguably could be addressed or reduced through a program of high-risk, transformational research. The first TIP competition in 2008 sought new technologies for inspecting, monitoring and evaluating critical components of the nation's roadways, bridges, and drinking and wastewater systems.
In a Federal Register notice posted on Dec. 16,* NIST asked interested parties to submit "white papers" describing an area of critical national need and the associated societal challenge and explain how those needs might be addressed through potential technological developments that fit the TIP profile of high-risk, high-reward R&D. The white papers, along with the input from NIST, the TIP Advisory Board, other government agencies, the technical communities and other stakeholders, will be incorporated into the TIP competition planning process.
NIST announced that, while it is accepting papers in any topic area of concern to the submitter, it is particularly interested in white papers that would help further refine several topic areas now under consideration, including:
White papers can be submitted to meet several due dates, including: Jan. 15, 2009, March 9, 2009, May 11, 2009, and July 13, 2009. White papers may be mailed to: National Institute of Standards and Technology, Technology Innovation Program, 100 Bureau Drive, Stop 4750, Gaithersburg, MD 20899-4750, Attention: Critical National Needs Ideas, or may be emailed to tipwhitepaper [at] nist.gov.
The white papers are expected to contain: a description of an area of critical national need and the associated societal challenge, why government support is needed, the consequences of inaction and a high level discussion of potential technical solutions, and the audience for such a competition. They should not include specific project proposals. Detailed instructions on preparing TIP white papers may be read at "A Guide for Preparing and Submitting White Papers on Areas of Critical National Need." Detailed discussion of the seven areas of particular interest is in the Federal Register notice "Technology Innovation Program (TIP) Seeks White Papers."