The National Institute of Standards and Technology

The National Institute of Standards and Technology : An Appropriations Overview

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The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a laboratory of the Department of Commerce, is mandated to provide technical services to facilitate the competitiveness of U.S. industry. NIST is directed to offer support to the private sector for the development of precompetitive generic technologies and the diffusion of government-developed innovation to users in all segments of the American economy. Laboratory research is to provide measurement, calibration, and quality assurance techniques that underpin U.S. commerce, technological progress, improved product reliability, manufacturing processes, and public safety. Concerns about the adequacy of federal funding for physical science and engineering research led to efforts by President George W. Bush (under his American Competitiveness Initiative and annual budget requests), President Obama (in his annual budget requests), and Congress (implicitly in appropriations authorizations in the America COMPETES Act and the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010) to double funding for the NIST laboratory and construction accounts, together with the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy Office of Science. However, appropriations did not keep pace with authorization levels or presidential requests. In addition, the appropriations authorizations for the accounts targeted for doubling have lapsed and President Obama's budget requests have not referenced a specific doubling goal or timeframe since his FY2013 request. It remains to be seen how support for internal research and development at NIST will evolve and how this might affect financing of extramural efforts. Continued funding for NIST extramural programs directed toward increased private sector commercialization has been a topic of congressional debate. Some Members of Congress have expressed skepticism over a "technology policy" based on providing federal funds to industry for development of pre-competitive generic technologies. This approach, coupled with pressures to balance the federal budget, led to significant reductions in funding for NIST. The Advanced Technology Program (ATP) and the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), which accounted for over 50% of the FY1995 NIST budget, were proposed for elimination. In 2007, ATP was terminated and replaced by the Technology Innovation Program (TIP). TIP was subsequently eliminated in the FY2012 appropriations legislation. In December 2014, Congress enacted the Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act of 2014 as Title VII of Division B of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015 (P.L. 113-235), establishing a Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NMI). The NMI program is similar to the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation proposed by President Obama in his FY2013-FY2015 budgets. The act does not appropriate funds specifically for the NMI program but instead authorizes NIST to spend up to $5.0 million of funds appropriated to the laboratory's Industrial Technology Services account each year from FY2015 to FY2024 to carry out the program. In addition, the act authorizes the Department of Energy to transfer up to a total of $250.0 million to NIST between FY2015 and FY2024 to carry out the program. The act allows a number of existing manufacturing centers to be classified as centers for manufacturing innovation and eligible for participation in the network of centers. Many issues related to the establishment, operation, management, and funding of the NMI remain to be addressed.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 26 pages
  • 215.9 x 279.4 x 1.52mm | 113.4g
  • Createspace
  • United States
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 1508604657
  • 9781508604655