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Obama Administration's Budget Request Includes Vital Science and Technology Investments to Advance U.S. Innovation and Competitiveness

Washington, D.C.— President Barack Obama's fiscal year (FY) 2011 budget submitted today to Congress for the U.S. Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) proposes a funding level of $918.9 million, a 7.3 percent increase over the FY 2010 appropriations for the agency.

The budget reflects Commerce Secretary Gary Locke's commitment to fostering innovation to both create jobs and enhance the long-term competitiveness of the U.S. economy. At the same time, the President's budget makes difficult choices and puts the nation back on the path to fiscal responsibility. While ending programs that don't work, streamlining those that do, cracking down on special interest access, and bringing a new responsibility to how tax dollars are spent, President Obama's budget makes critical investments in the key areas that will help to reverse the decline in economic security that American families have experienced over the past decade with investments in education, clean energy, infrastructure, and innovation.

"After pulling the economy back from the brink, President Obama is focused on turning economic growth into job creation," Locke said. "We spark job creation by building a new foundation for the long-term prosperity of all American families. NIST's work in future-oriented, world-class science and technological research is vital to that mission."  

"The President's request for NIST recognizes the critical role that measurement science and standards play in fostering innovation and encouraging economic growth," NIST Director Patrick Gallagher said. "The budget also reflects the President's commitment to double the NIST laboratory budget by 2017, to support and enhance our world leadership in the physical sciences and technology."

The total request of $918.9 million for NIST is divided into three appropriations:

Scientific and Technical Research and Services (STRS), $584.5 million—This category includes $574.6 million for NIST laboratory research and $9.9 million for the Baldrige National Quality Program. The FY 2011 STRS requests funding increases in the major areas described below as well a $2 million increase to a fund for Strategic and Emerging Research Initiatives to ensure that NIST can quickly develop interdisciplinary research teams as needed to exploit rapidly changing innovation trends.

  • Competitive Manufacturing and Construction in a Clean-Energy Economy:
    • Green Manufacturing and Construction (+$10 million)
    • Innovations for 21st Century U.S. Manufacturing (+$10 million)
  • Standards and Conformity Assessment for Interoperability in Emerging Technologies (+$10 million)
  • Scalable Cybersecurity for Emerging Technologies and Threats  (+$10 million)
  • Innovations in Healthcare - Measurement Science and Standards to Support Manufacturing and Regulatory Approval of Biologic Drugs (+$10 million)
  • Disaster Resilient Buildings and Infrastructure (+$5 million)
  • Sustainable Energy Use and Nanomaterials:
    • Advanced Solar Technologies - Third Generation Photovoltaics (+$5 million)
    • Nanomaterial Environmental, Health and Safety (+$4 million)
  • Strengthening Science, Engineering and Mathematics Education through the NIST NRC Postdoctoral Research Associateships Program (+$3.4 million)

Construction of Research Facilities (CRF), $124.8 million—This category includes $66.1 million for three initiatives:

  • Renovate the 60-year-old Building 1 of the NIST Boulder laboratories, which houses the majority of research and measurement on the Boulder campus. The renovation of the Building 1 would complement the construction of the Precision Measurement Laboratory, a modern, state-of-the-art expansion of Building 1. The total cost of a three-year Building 1 renovation program is projected at $54.4 million, with $12 million allocated in FY2010 (+$37.9 million)
  • Renovate the nearly 45-year-old General Purpose Laboratories (GPLs) at the NIST Gaithersburg campus. The GPLs house the majority of NIST research and measurement. NIST research and measurement performed in the GPLs support national priorities in such areas as energy, environment, manufacturing, healthcare, physical infrastructure, information technology, and many other areas. (+$14.4 million)
  • Conduct major repairs. This initiative provides additional base funding in support of NIST's Safety, Capacity, Maintenance and Major Repairs (SCMMR) program. This additional funding will help decrease the deferred maintenance backlog at the NIST physical plant in Gaithersburg, Md.; as well as in Boulder, Colo., and at antenna facilities in Fort Collins, Colo.; and Kauai, Hawaii used to disseminate NIST's official time signal. (+$13.8 million)

Industrial Technology Services (ITS), $209.6 million—This category consists of funding for:

  • Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP)—$129.7 million. The proposed MEP budget represents an increase of $5 million over FY 2010 levels to support the Administration's policy initiatives for reinventing domestic manufacturing. This program will assist in creating jobs and responding to future challenges and opportunities in the manufacturing sector. Through locally based MEP centers it supports the adoption of technological innovations that spur economic growth and foster development of new products, expanded markets, and process improvements.
  • Technology Innovation Program (TIP) —$79.9 million. The proposed TIP budget represents an increase of $10 million over FY 2010 levels. TIP supports, promotes, and accelerates innovation in the United States by funding high-risk, high-reward research in areas of critical national need. In FY 2010, TIP supported cost-shared, competitively awarded research projects to develop innovative materials for manufacturing and advanced technologies for physical infrastructure. The scope of the FY 2011 awards will be determined in part based on a call for white papers submitted by the public that describe areas of critical national need.

As a non-regulatory agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, NIST promotes U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life.

FY 2011 Budget in Brief >>

NOTE: Additional information on NIST's budget is available at

Released February 1, 2010, Updated January 20, 2023