The Bush Administration's FY 2005 budget request contains significant increases and decreases for the National Institute of Standards and Technology. If enacted, NIST's total budget would decline $89,258,000, or 14.6%. Within this request, NIST's laboratories would see a sizeable increase, while funding for the Advanced Technology Program would be eliminated.
In introducing the budget, Commerce Under Secretary of Technology Phillip J. Bond stated, "The President realizes that technology is central to both our economic security and our homeland security. Given the President's efforts to hold the line on non-defense funding, this budget request represents a significant investment in our science and technology infrastructure that would enable us to both win the war on terror and remain competitive around the world."
NIST's budget request is divided into three components. The first, Scientific & Technical Research & Services (STRS) has two parts. Almost all funding is devoted to the NIST laboratories, which would increase 25.8% or $85,727,000 under this request. A NIST budget document explains: "The FY 2005 budget proposed for the NIST laboratories addresses shortfalls over the past several years that threaten to undercut the very core measurements and standards infrastructure upon which our nation's scientific, technological and industrial enterprises depend. Accordingly, this budget proposes new initiatives to support advanced manufacturing ($15.6 million), public safety and security ($18.6 million), advanced measurement capabilities to meet the needs of 21st century science and industry ($16.2 million), and improvements to the NIST Center for Neutron Research, a unique national resource for research in materials, biological and chemical science, and physics ($8.3 million)." Additional information about Major Research Initiatives at the NIST laboratories, including the Physics and Materials Science and Engineering Laboratories, can be seen at http://www.nist.gov/public_affairs/budget/2005budgethighlights.htm Also under the STRS budget is the Baldrige National Quality Program, for which funding would decline 1.0% or $56,000 to $5,400,000.
The second component of the NIST budget is that for Industrial Technology Services. The Manufacturing Extension Program, which was just hit by a 63% reduction in funding for the current year, would see a 1.2% or $464,000 increase in the FY 2005 budget to $39,190,000. About this, the budget document states, "The Administration recognizes the important role manufacturing plays in our economy, and on Jan. 16 Secretary Evans released a comprehensive manufacturing strategy, Manufacturing in America. A key part of that strategy includes continued support for the MEP and steps to review and improve its efficiency. . . . This budget proposal funds MEP at the level agreed to by the Congress in the FY 2004 Consolidated Appropriations Act." The other major program is the Advanced Technology Program. The Administration is again trying to eliminate funding for this program, which is now $170,533,000. The NIST budget document does not provide much explanation for this termination, saying "Since 1990, the Advanced Technology Program (ATP) has used cost-shared awards to encourage industry investment in high-risk, innovative technology R&D that promise broad benefits to the nation. This budget proposes terminating the program in favor of higher-priority needs."
The final component of the NIST budget is that for Construction of Research Facilities, for which funding would decline 7.6% or $4,860,000 to $59,411,000. See the budget document cited above for information on proposed projects.