The FY 2008 budget for the National Institute of Standards and Technology would increase by 27.5 percent in a bill that has been approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee and sent to the floor.
S. 1745 provides funding for three agencies supporting physical sciences research: NIST, the National Science Foundation, and NASA. Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) is the chair of the Senate Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee; Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) is the Ranking Member. The House has not released its version of this bill.
The following are selections from Senate Report 110-124 accompanying the bill. The full text of the bill and the report can be found at http://thomas.loc.gov/home/approp/app08.html
The FY 2007 budget for the NIST is $676.9 million.
The Bush Administration requested $640.7 million, a cut of 5.4 percent or $36.2 million.
The Senate Appropriations Committee recommended $863.0 million, an increase of 27.5 percent or $186.1 million.
There were no policy recommendations in this section of the Senate Committee report.
SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL RESEARCH AND SERVICES:
The FY 2007 budget for Scientific and Technical Research and Services (STRS) is $434.4 million.
The Bush Administration requested $500.1 million, an increase of 15.1 percent or $65.7 million.
The Senate Appropriations Committee recommended $502.1 million, an increase of 15.6 percent or $67.7 million.
The report provides the committee's funding recommendations for 11 categories within this budget, including physics, and materials science and engineering. It also includes a $1.0 million earmark.
The Senate Committee report states:
"Innovation Investments - The Committee's recommendation provides full funding of all fiscal year 2008 initiatives and redirects funding from lower priority research initiative that were built into this budget from fiscal year 2007. Within the funding provided the Committee provides the following increases: $10,000,000 for the development of climate change measurements and standards; $4,000,000 is for an initiative to develop measurements and standards related to the environmental, safety and health affects of nanotechnology; $4,000,000 for quantum information science; and $850,000 is for a Summer Teachers Institute at NIST targeting 5th through 8th grade math and science teachers."
"Budgeting - The Committee notes that the budget structure for this appropriation does not reflect adequately the organizational structure of NIST nor the fact that modern science is multidiscipline. Several of NIST's laboratory programs are conducting research related to climate change yet the funding provided in the table above was too only one line. In addition, roughly one quarter of the Computer Science and Applied Mathematics program line goes to the Manufacturing Engineering laboratory. This rigidity does not provide the needed budgetary flexibility that modern science requires. Therefore, the Committee directs NIST to develop a new budget structure for submission with the fiscal year 2009 budget."
"Finally, additional funds of $12,500,000 are available for transfer to the Working Capital Fund for equipment and other purposes related to the STRS account."
Also note that the committee report includes the following language in an introductory section entitled "Summary of the Bill:"
"Competitiveness - This bill makes critical investments in scientific research and technology to improve America's competitiveness. The Committee has followed the recommendations of the National Academy of Sciences `Rising Above the Gathering Storm,' making significant investments in our science agencies that will pay dividends for our future.
"Research - The Committee recommends funding for research that will create new products and processes that support job creation. Specifically, the Committee recommends investing over $500,000,000 in the National Institute of Standards and Technology [NIST] for highly leveraged basic research that will contribute to the development of new innovative products and processes."
INDUSTRIAL TECHNOLOGY SERVICES:
The FY 2007 budget for the Industrial Technology Services is $183.8 million.
The Bush Administration requested $46.3 million, a cut of 74.8 percent or $137.5 million.
The Senate Appropriations Committee recommended $210.0 million, an increase of 14.3 percent or $26.2 million.
This budget provides funding for the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Program and the Advanced Technology Program.
Hollings Manufacturing Extension Programs [MEP]:
The Bush Administration requested $46.3 million for MEP in FY 2008, the current budget is $104.7 million. The Senate Committee report states:
" The Committee recommendation provides $110,000,000 to fund MEP centers and to fund a technology deployment pilot. MEP supports a network of locally run centers that provide technical advice and consultative services to small manufacturing companies in all 50 States and Puerto Rico. Many of these firms lack the in-house technical knowledge and experience to implement cutting edge technologies and cost saving processes, which places them at risk from foreign competition. Since its inception, MEP has consistently been the program that small manufacturers could look to for assistance.
"Based on a sampling of clients surveyed in fiscal year 2006, MEP clients reported that the assistance they received resulted in increased sales of $2,842,000,000; retained sales of $3,408,000,000; cost savings of $1,304,000,000 and the creation and retention of 53,219 jobs. These economic impacts justify the full funding of the MEP.
"The Committee is concerned with moving smaller companies toward the next phase of innovation and recommends $4,000,000 for a pilot focused on technology deployment. The MEP Technology Deployment Pilot will move government and university research out of the laboratories and make it readily understandable and adoptable by small and medium-sized manufacturers.
"The pilot will include: development of techniques and tools for translating innovative technologies into business opportunities and commercialized products, assessment of the market opportunities of new technologies, including the forecast of sales potential for product concepts, and matching manufacturer's needs with technology solutions."
Advanced Technology Program (ATP):
The Bush Administration requested no funding for ATP in FY 2008, continuing its effort to terminate this program. The Senate Committee report stated:
"The Committee provides $100,000,000 for the Advanced Technology Program. The Committee has provided a provision preventing large companies from applying for single applicant awards. The Committee is aware that a major rewrite of the NIST statute is being negotiated as part of the conference for the House and Senate competitiveness and innovation bills. The Committee will follow the direction of conferees once negotiations are completed." (See http://www.aip.org/fyi/2007/050.html.)
CONSTRUCTION OF RESEARCH FACILITIES:
The FY 2007 budget for Construction of Research Facilities is $58.7 million.
The Bush Administration requested $93.9 million, an increase of 60.0 percent or $35.2 million.
The Senate Appropriations Committee recommended $150.9 million, an increase of 157.1 percent or $92.2 million.
The Senate Committee report states:
"The Committee recommendation provides $150,900,000. The recommendation is . . . . $57,035 above the budget request. (The report notes that $53.0 million is designated for "congressionally directed projects.")
"The recommendation funds the highest priority safety, capacity, maintenance, and repair projects at NIST."
Richard M. Jones
Media and Government Relations Division
American Institute of Physics