Emerging technologies

The National Institute of Standards and Technology’s base budget rose 16% to $1.24 billion for fiscal year 2023, not counting one-time supplemental funds and congressional earmarks. The agency is also administering billions of dollars the CHIPS and Science Act has provided for semiconductor manufacturing and R&D initiatives.

Major science and technology provisions in this year’s National Defense Authorization Act cover issues such as intelligence agencies’ adoption of emerging technology, biomanufacturing, the technological rivalry between the U.S. and China, and research capacity-building at minority-serving institutions.

The CHIPS and Science Act prescribes the mission of the Directorate for Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships that the National Science Foundation created early this year, establishing priority focus areas and authorizing new programs supporting technology commercialization, regional innovation, and workforce development.

A month into fiscal year 2023, federal science agencies are facing a budget situation more complicated than any they have encountered in recent memory. While some programs are busy handling an influx of money from special spending legislation, others face uncertainties surrounding stopgap funding and whether Congress will meet targets set out in the CHIPS and Science Act.

With the launch of a new milestone-based funding program for commercial ventures, the U.S. is implementing a shift in its fusion energy policy that has been brewing for nearly two years. However, questions remain about how public programs will mesh with private investment, and what role the international ITER megaproject will play.

Over the last several years, Congress has passed multi-pronged policy initiatives and provided billions of dollars in funding to spur the deployment of “advanced” nuclear reactors, and a sprawling array of projects are now in progress.

Congress is on the cusp of approving historic legislation that would provide more than $50 billion to the semiconductor sector and lay out ambitious expansion plans for a set of federal science agencies.

Democratic leaders are narrowing their ambitions for Congress’ bipartisan innovation policy bill in a push to finish it in July, but many questions remain about what the final product will look like.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology’s base budget is increasing 3% for fiscal year 2022, despite the Biden administration’s bid to boost it by around 40% to nearly $1.5 billion. The administration is making a similar push this year in large part to bolster NIST’s role in fostering advanced manufacturing and emerging technologies.

Congress increased the National Science Foundation’s budget by 4% to $8.8 billion for fiscal year 2022, undershooting the ambitious targets proposed by the Biden administration and pending landmark legislation. The administration is now again seeking to surge NSF’s budget past $10 billion to build out its newest directorate and to expand climate change research and STEM workforce diversity initiatives.