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FY 2009 Budget Request: National Institute of Standards and Technology

Richard M. Jones
Number 25 - February 15, 2008   |  Search FYI  |   FYI Archives  |   Subscribe to FYI

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The Bush Administration's FY 2009 request to Congress proposes significant changes to the programs of the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The President has requested an increase of more than 21 percent for NIST's core research program, and a 25 percent increase for the construction of NIST campus research facilities. NIST's Industrial Technology Services would be eliminated or reduced: the Technology Innovation Program (formerly the Advanced Technology Program) would receive no funding, and the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership would receive funding only for an "orderly end" to the program. In all, the Administration requested $638.0 million for NIST in FY 2009; the current budget is $755.9 million.

NIST's research program is a component of the American Competitiveness Initiative, under which total funding for NIST's laboratories, the DOE Office of Science, and the National Science Foundation would double over ten years. The Administration sought a 7.2 percent increase in the NIST research budget for this year; Congress provided only a 1.4 percent increase.

In describing the FY 2009 request, NIST Acting Director James Turner said:

"The President’s request focuses on high-impact research that will both address critical national needs and spur economic growth by advancing innovation and industrial competitiveness. This budget continues the Administration's commitment to work toward a doubling of NIST’s core budget by 2016 as called for in the President’s American Competitiveness Initiative and authorized through 2010 by the America COMPETES Act. This budget also reflects some difficult decisions about priorities and reflects the President's guidance to restrain spending. The request for the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership is $4 million, enough for an orderly end to federal funding for the program, while no funds are requested for the Technology Innovation Program."

NIST's budget consists of three major components. As is true for the research budgets of the Department of Defense, DOE Office of Science, and NASA, congressional earmarks and the initiation of a new facilities program make it necessary to take a closer look at NIST's budget request.

Scientific and technical research issues

The Administration requested an increase of 21.7 percent or $95.4 million, from a FY 2008 budget (with earmarked funding removed) of $439.6 million to $535.0 million in FY 2009.

In addition to ten previous initiatives in areas such as quantum information, climate change, hydrogen, and earthquake hazard reduction , NIST proposes four new initiatives in FY 2009:
Nanotechnology: Environment, Health and Safety Measurements and Standards: $12 million
Measurements and Standards to Accelerate Innovation in the Biosciences: $10 million
Comprehensive National Cyber Security Initiative: $5 million
Going at Light Speed: Optical Communications and Computing: $5 million

Industrial technology services

The two programs under this budget category received $154.8 million in FY 2008; the Administration is requesting $4.0 million this year.

The Bush Administration has long sought the termination of the Advanced Technology Program, which was reoriented and renamed as the Technology Innovation Program. The Administration requests no funding for this program in FY 2009; Congress appropriated $65.2 million for FY 2008.

The Administration wants Congress to end the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership, which received $154.8 million for this year. For FY 2009, the Administration seeks $4.0 million, explained as follows in a Commerce Department release: "The budget request for NIST also includes $4 million to transition the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership consulting centers to a self-supporting basis."

Construction of research facilities

Congress provided $160.5 million in FY 2008. However, $51.3 million of this was for earmarked projects that were on neither NIST campus, as well as $30.0 million for a new construction research grant program. Allowing for these figures, the NIST campuses in Maryland and Colorado received $79.2 million.

The Administration is seeking $99.00 million for this category in FY 2009, an increase of 25.0 percent or $19.8 million. $56.5 million of this funding would be allocated to the Boulder, CO campus and an expansion of a joint institute of the University of Colorado and NIST (see http://jilawww.colorado.edu/ .)

Additional detail on NIST's FY 2009 budget submission may be viewed at:
http://www.osec.doc.gov/bmi/budget/09BIB/National%20Institute%20of%20Standards%20and%20Tech.pdf

Richard M. Jones
Media and Government Relations Division
American Institute of Physics
rjones@aip.org
301-209-3095