NIST

National Institute of Standards and Technology

President Biden’s nominee to lead the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy has maintained a career-long focus on applications-oriented R&D and is an ardent advocate for applying the Advanced Research Projects Agency model to national problems.

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.

At a House Science Committee hearing last week, lawmakers and witnesses pushed back against proposals to try to block rival countries from influencing international standards, and instead advocated for strengthening the industry-led approach the U.S. has traditionally relied on.

The House passed the America COMPETES Act of 2022 today on a nearly party-line vote that foreshadows challenges the House and Senate may face in crafting a compromise bill capable of passing both chambers.

The House has revealed its response to the landmark innovation policy package the Senate passed last year, a major step toward negotiating a compromise version. However, there are a host of thorny policy disagreements yet to be resolved.

NIST’s $1 billion budget would surge by more than 30% under the House and Senate appropriations bills for fiscal year 2022, and the agency could see further increases through two special spending bills also currently pending.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology has concluded that a serious incident early this year at its research reactor can be traced to mistakes made by its staff, which has suffered from a loss of experience following several years of increased turnover.

The Senate passed a landmark competitiveness policy package this week containing the Endless Frontier Act proposal for a multi-billion-dollar technology R&D initiative. Key members of the House are now crafting a compromise proposal they regard as better-suited to existing agency strengths.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology’s budget would rise by nearly 50% under President Biden’s fiscal year 2022 request, with across-the-board increases proposed for the agency’s research and advanced manufacturing programs.

The $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package that is advancing rapidly through Congress does not include the research recovery funds proposed in the bipartisan Research Investment to Spark the Economy Act.