GAITHERSBURG, Md. – The U.S. Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has announced the availability of approximately $120 million in competitive grants for the construction of new or expanded scientific research buildings at higher education institutions and nonprofit organizations. Approximately eight to 12 projects will be funded by these grants, which are part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act). Possible projects include laboratories, test facilities, measurement facilities, research computing facilities, and observatories.
"The Recovery Act provides a unique opportunity to expand scientific research in the pursuit of economic prosperity," Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said.
The Commerce Department particularly is seeking projects that are able to start quickly and complement the research programs of the U.S. Commerce Department's three science agencies: NIST, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).
Grant proposals will be evaluated based on three criteria: scientific and technical merit and the need for federal funding; design quality and suitability for the intended purpose; and management plan quality of the proposed project. Grant evaluations also will be judged on how proposals meet the core objectives of the Recovery Act -- job creation and preservation, and investing in infrastructure that will provide long-term economic benefits.
Interested organizations must provide NIST with a Letter of Intent outlining the proposed project by 3 p.m. EDT, Thursday, June 25, 2009. Organizations that submit timely Letters of Intent may then submit full proposals, which must be received by 3 p.m. EDT, Monday, Aug. 10, 2009. Review, selection and grant award processing is expected to be completed by the end of February 2010.
Applicant organizations may submit only one Letter of Intent and full proposal. Academic campuses within multi-campus systems (those that award their own degrees, have independent administrative structures, admission policies, alumni associations, etc.) qualify as separate institutions.
Letters of Intent must be submitted on paper to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, 100 Bureau Drive, Stop 4701, Gaithersburg, MD 20899-4701. Full proposals may be submitted on paper or on-line through Grants.gov.
For more information and details of the application process, see:
NIST Federal Register "Notice of Availability of Funds," docket number 090306286-9288-01 (text of Federal Register notice)
NIST announcement of Federal Funding Opportunity (copy of the Grants.gov announcement)
In addition to this new construction grant competition, NIST will also issue grant awards totaling approximately $60 million to meritorious proposals submitted under the fiscal year 2008 NIST Construction Grant Program competition, but, because of limited research-and-development funding, were not selected initially. See: "Grant Proposals Sought for Construction of Science Research Buildings," and "NIST Awards $24 Million in Grants for New Research Facilities Dedicated to Quantum Measurement, Marine Ecology."
FY 2008 applicants who receive a meritorious ranking will be contacted in writing by NIST in the near future. Applicants who do not receive this notification should assume that their proposals are not under consideration for this Recovery Act funding.
Interested applicants who did not receive funding in the FY 2008 competition are encouraged to submit a Letter of Intent and full proposal for the FY 2009 competition. Decisions on unfunded FY 2008 proposals will not be made until after Letters of Intent for the new competition are due.