The House and Senate Appropriations Committees have approved their versions of the FY 2014 Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Bills. These bills provide funding to the National Science Foundation, NASA, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
The amount of money available to the committees differed, with the House committee operating with a significantly lower figure. The House Appropriations Committee has not released a final version of its report accompanying its bill.
This FYI will excerpt selections from the Senate committee report accompanying its bill regarding the National Institute of Standards and Technology found on pages 20-23. Committee report language does not have the force of law, but agencies usually adhere to it closely. Conflicts in funding and policy between the House and Senate versions will be resolved in a conference committee.
Total National Institute of Standards and Technology:
The FY 2013 budget (not including the mandatory 5 percent reduction) is $807.1 million
The FY 2014 request is $928.3 million, an increase of $121.2 million or 15.0 percent
The Senate subcommittee recommendation is $947.6 million, an increase of $140.5 million or 17.4 percent
Scientific and Technical Research and Services:
The FY 2013 budget (not including the mandatory 5 percent reduction) is $608.3 million
The FY 2014 request is $693.8 million, an increase of $85.5 million or 14.1 percent
The Senate subcommittee recommendation is $703.0 million, an increase of $94.7 million or 15.6 percent
In addition to language on cybersecurity, detection canine teams, forensic science, and facility security the Senate report also included the following sections:
“Centers of Excellence.--The Committee supports the administration's proposal to create Centers of Excellence that will produce collaborations between NIST, academic, and industry specialists on research focused on innovations in measurement science and new technology developments. Similar collaborations have already yielded significant benefits in areas of nanomaterials, healthcare, batteries and electrochemical energy conversion, and advanced photovoltaic devices.
“As NIST begins the process of establishing those Centers, the Committee encourages NIST to create at least one Center of Excellence with a focus on forensic measurement science, technology, and standards. Interdisciplinary research to enhance forensic science was one of the recommendations made by the 2009 National Academy of Sciences report ‘Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward.’ Enhanced science, technology, and standards in the areas of forensic science, especially computer forensics, are critical for the accurate collection, evaluation, and processing of evidence that is needed to strengthen our forensic science disciplines and to combat burgeoning Internet crime networks.
“As part of the agency's 2014 spending plan, NIST is directed to provide an updated framework for creating an appropriate number of new centers of excellence from within the funds provided.”
“Greenhouse Gas Measurements -- The Committee maintains support for NIST's greenhouse gas measurement programs and is aware of the need to develop prototype greenhouse gas observation networks for measuring carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere at local scales. In order to increase confidence in greenhouse gas emissions inventories and to improve current measurement and standards infrastructure, NIST should continue to leverage existing assets and services from the private sector that maintain high quality atmospheric weather monitoring systems. The Committee recommendation includes an additional $3,000,000 above the request to expand the number of locations in its public-private partnership to measure greenhouse gases on local and regional scales.”
“STEM Education -- The Committee continues to support NIST's activities related to Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics [STEM] Education and fully funds its activities authorized under 15 U.S.C. 278g-2a.”
Industrial Technology Services:
The FY 2013 budget (not including the mandatory 5 percent reduction) is $140.0 million
The FY 2014 request is $174.5 million, an increase of $34.5 million or 24.6 percent
The Senate subcommittee recommendation is $184.5 million, an increase of $44.5 million or 31.8 percent
The report stated:
“The Committee's recommendation provides $153,078,000 for the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program and $31,429,000 for the Advanced Manufacturing Consortia.
“Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program [MEP].--The Committee supports the full request of $153,078,000 for MEP. The request includes $25,000,000 for a Manufacturing Technology Acceleration Center [M-TAC] within MEP. The Committee supports the MEP focus on next generation strategies like supply chain management that the M-TACs aim to address. However, the Committee believes these strategies should be implemented by and through the existing network of MEP centers. The recommendation supports the creation of three to four pilot M-TACs which shall be led by individual MEP centers or consortia of MEP centers.
“Advanced Manufacturing Technology (AmTech) Consortia -- Initial funding for AmTech was provided in fiscal year 2013. The program will establish industry-led consortia, which will identify and prioritize research projects supporting long term industrial research needs. In developing AmTech, the Committee encourages NIST to consider partnerships and investments in pharmaceutical manufacturing as well as more traditional areas of manufacturing, including clean energy.
“Both the fiscal year 2013 and 2014 requests also included $1,000,000,000 in mandatory funding for the National Network of Manufacturing Institutes [NNMI]. This Committee cannot initiate a $1,000,000,000 mandatory program, and the authorizing committees have not acted on this proposal. The Department of Defense and the Department of Energy have begun investments in mission-related NNMI pilot institutes using discretionary funding, and NIST is responsible for coordinating the NNMI through the Advanced Manufacturing National Program Office.”
“The proposed NNMI institutes would be public private partnerships in regional hubs that aim to accelerate development and adoption of cutting-edge manufacturing technologies for making new, globally competitive products. The Committee does not believe there is a significant distinction between the AmTech consortia and the proposed NNMI institutes. The Committee has provided $10,000,000 above the request for AmTech and directs that at least one AmTech consortium using the pilot NNMI model be funded using discretionary funding provided for AmTech. The Committee also directs NIST to report, within 60 days of enactment, on how NNMI-related efforts can be merged into AmTech.”
Construction of Research Facilities:
- The FY 2013 budget (not including the mandatory 5 percent reduction) is $58.8 million
- The FY 2014 request is $60.0 million, an increase of $1.2 million or 2.0 percent
- The Senate subcommittee recommendation is $60.0 million, an increase of $1.2 million or 2.0 percent
There was no report language of note.