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Obama Administration's Budget Request for NIST Includes Critical Science and Technology Investments to Advance U.S. Innovation and Boost Economic Recovery

Washington, D.C.– Announced today, President Barack Obama's fiscal year (FY) 2012 budget submitted to Congress for the U.S. Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) proposes a funding level of $1.001 billion, an 8.9 percent increase over the President's FY 2011 budget request and a 16.9 percent increase above NIST's FY 2010 appropriations.

The NIST budget request reinforces the Administration's commitment to science and technology by doubling funding for NIST laboratories, one of several strategies for maintaining U.S. technological leadership laid out in the President's Plan for Science and Innovation and reaffirmed in the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-358).

"The President's budget request for NIST reflects the critical role that measurement science, standards and directed technological investments play in ensuring and enhancing the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturers and U.S. industry," said Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director Patrick Gallagher. "Further investments in research and development will also help to generate new innovations that will create the jobs and high-tech industries of the future."

The total request of $1.001 billion for NIST is divided into three appropriations:

Scientific and Technical Research and Services (STRS), $678.9 million: The FY 2012 STRS request funds NIST's laboratory programs as well as a number of other important initiatives. NIST research laboratories, facilities and services programs work at the cutting edge of science to ensure that U.S. industry, as well as the broader science and engineering communities, has the measurements, data and technologies to continually further innovation and industrial competitiveness. Initiative funding requests include:

  1. Ensuring a Secure and Robust Cyber Infrastructure (+$43,442,000)
  2. Interoperability Standards for Emerging Technologies (+$22,835,000)
  3. Strengthening Measurement Services in Support of Industry Needs (+$20,016,000)
  4. Advanced Materials for Industry (+$14,242,000)
  5. Innovations for 21st Century U.S. Manufacturing: Faster, Smarter and Cleaner (+$13,331,000)
  6. Measurement Science and Standards to Support Biomanufacturing (+$9,526,000)
  7. Measurements to Support the Manufacture and Production of Nanotechnology-based Products (+$28,256,000)
  8. Measurements and Standards to Support Increased Energy Efficiency and Reduced Environmental Impact (+$13,270,000)
  9. Measurements and Standards to Support Advanced Infrastructure Delivery and Resilience (+$10,571,000)
  10. Postdoctoral Research Associateship Program (+$2,979,000)

Industrial Technology Services (ITS), $237.6 million: This category includes funding for:

  • Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) — $142.6 million. The proposed MEP budget represents an increase of $12.9 million over the President's FY 2011 request, and $17.9 million above FY 2010-enacted appropriations. The funds requested for MEP in FY 2012 support the administration's policy initiatives for domestic manufacturing to create jobs and better respond to future challenges and opportunities. Through its national field staff of over 1,400 technical experts located in every state, MEP helps manufacturers navigate economic and business challenges and connect to public and private resources essential for increased competitiveness and profitability.

  • Technology Innovation Program (TIP) — $75 million. The proposed TIP budget represents a decrease of $4.9 million over the President's FY 2011 request, and an increase of $5.1 million above FY 2010-enacted appropriations. TIP funds high-risk, high-reward research and development projects that address critical national needs and societal challenges that are not already being addressed by others. In FY 2012, TIP expects to hold funding competitions in one or more of the following research areas: advanced robotics and intelligent automation, energy, healthcare, water, civil infrastructure technologies, and manufacturing.

  • Baldrige Performance Excellence Program (BPEP) — $7.7 million. This funding represents a decrease of $2.2 million from the President's FY 2011 request, and a decrease of $1.9 million from FY 2010-enacted appropriations. At this proposed level, BPEP will evaluate alternative sources of funding and alternative cost models consistent with the administration's goal of transitioning the program out of federal funding. Funding supports the continued development of the Baldrige Program Criteria, dissemination of best practices, and the annual awards process. BPEP provides global leadership in the learning and sharing of successful strategies and performance practices, principles and methodologies to strengthen U.S. organizations.

  • Advanced Manufacturing Technology Consortia (AMTech) Program — $12.3 million. This new program would foster and promote industry consortia to tackle common technological barriers to the innovation and manufacturing of new products. These consortia will encourage the development of innovative new technologies directed at creating high-wage jobs and economic growth. The program will be based on NIST's experience with the Nanoelectronics Research Initiative (NRI) partnership, which helps drive U.S. innovation in nanoelectronics, an emerging area in electronics that exploits the unique properties of nanometer-scale materials. The AMTech program will further develop and expand upon the NRI model.

Construction of Research Facilities (CRF), $84.6 million: The CRF request contains funding for the agency's regular maintenance and repair budget as well as one new initiative:

  • Boulder Laboratories Building 1 Renovation — $25.4 million. The CRF includes the renovation of NIST-Boulder's 60-year-old Building 1, which houses the majority of research and measurement laboratories on the NIST-Boulder campus. The requested funding allows NIST to continue renovation efforts made in FY 2010 and FY 2011. The successful improvement of the NIST-Boulder facilities supports scientific discovery and technical development of transformational technology in homeland security, telecommunications, nanotechnology, precision timing, hydrogen energy sources, precision electrical standards, biotechnology, applications of lasers, electromagnetic interference testing, quantum computing and quantum communications, and other national needs.

In addition to the three appropriations outlined above, the Administration will be submitting authorizing legislation for the auction of spectrum licenses to collect up to an estimated $27 billion in revenue by 2021, of which $500 million is proposed for re-allocation to NIST between 2012-2016 for the Public Safety Innovation Fund (PSIF). The PSIF is NIST's component of the Wireless Innovation Fund as part of the President's Wireless Innovation and Infrastructure Initiative (WI3). This initiative proposes to reallocate a total of 500 megahertz of federal agency and commercial spectrum bands over the next 10 years to allow greater access to wireless broadband.

In this proposed five-year effort, NIST will partner with industry and public safety organizations on research, development and demonstration activities aimed at new standards, technologies and applications that will advance public safety communications. The overriding objective is to build a broadband system that will allow first responders and other public-safety personnel anywhere in the nation to send and receive data, voice and other communications to save lives, prevent casualties and avert acts of terror.

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.

The following pages describe the NIST FY 2012 Budget Request in more detail:

Released February 14, 2011, Updated January 20, 2023