On Nov. 18, 2011, President Obama signed into law the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2012 (P.L. 112-55), which provides FY 2012 funding for a number of government agencies, including the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
The act provides $750.8 million for NIST overall, compared to $750.1 million in FY 2011. The FY 2012 funding is in three major categories.
Scientific and Technical Research and Services (STRS), the category that includes all of NIST's in-house research and engineering activities, is funded at $567 million, an increase of almost $70 million over FY 2011. Notably, the Act specifically funds two special initiatives related to computer security, $10 million to establish a National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence and $16.5 million to support the Administration's National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC) Initiative. NIST manages the NSTIC program office and coordinates interagency activities in this area.
Industrial Technology Services (ITS), the category that includes NIST's major outreach programs in manufacturing, technology innovation and quality, is funded at $128.4 million. The entire amount will fund the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), a public-private partnership managed by NIST that operates a nationwide network of centers that work with small and midsized U.S. manufacturers to help them create and retain jobs, increase profits, and save time and money through services ranging from innovation strategies to process improvements to green manufacturing.
Construction of Research Facilities (CRF), the category that includes major maintenance and construction activities for the NIST laboratories, receives $55.4 million, a decrease of $14.5 million from FY 2011.
The NIST Technology Innovation Program (TIP), the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program, and the proposed AMTech program will receive no appropriated funding in FY 2012.
NIST is in the process of an orderly shutdown of TIP, which for three years provided funding on a cost-shared, competitive basis to promote industry and academic research and development of technologies that address critical national needs, such as infrastructure maintenance and repair.
The Baldrige Program, which promotes management and performance excellence through the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award and related activities, is looking into receiving funding, at a reduced level, from its private-sector partner, the Foundation for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, to continue operations at NIST for FY 2012.
The proposed Advanced Manufacturing Technology Consortia (AMTech) Program would have created a new public-private partnership initiative that would provide federal grants to leverage existing consortia or establish new ones focused on long-term industrial research needs.