The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has received Congressional approval on its spending plan for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. NIST will use its funds to invest in construction projects, grants, scientific equipment and research fellowships.
"NIST's investments will create jobs, revitalize the economy and advance American innovation," U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said. The funds, Secretary Locke added, "will keep our nation at the forefront of cutting-edge science and technology."
The NIST spending plan covers the $580 million in direct appropriations to NIST under the Recovery Act. An additional $30 million transferred to NIST from other federal agencies will be covered in a subsequent spend plan.
For the $220 million received for its Scientific and Technical Research and Services (STRS) activities, NIST will fund "research, competitive grants, additional research fellowships and advanced research and measurement equipment and supplies." For instance, NIST will spend $119 million on high-value research and measurement equipment to be purchased through a competitive award process. It has set aside $35 million for competitive research grants for measurement science in NIST priority areas.
Of the $360 million NIST received for Construction of Research Facilities (CRF), $180 million will "address NIST's backlog of maintenance and renovation and for construction of new facilities and laboratories." For example, NIST will allocate $68.5 million to complete funding for a precision measurement laboratory at NIST's site in Boulder, Colo. NIST will use $39 million to carry out safety, capacity, maintenance and major repair projects that will enhance the performance of NIST's aging facilities.
With the other $180 million provided in the CRF appropriation, NIST will fund a competitive construction grants program to build research science buildings. NIST will award a portion of the grants to unfunded meritorious applications submitted under its fiscal year 2008 competition and a portion to a new 2009 competition.