FY 2012 House Funding Bill: National Institute of Standards and Technology

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Publication date: 
18 July 2011
Number: 
91

Under  the FY 2012 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Bill that was passed by  the House on July 13, funding for the National Institute of Standards and  Technology would be reduced 6.6 percent from the current year.  The bill terminates funding for several  programs.  House appropriators provide  policy and budget recommendations for NIST in their committee report  starting on page 20.  Selections  from this report follow  All figures are  taken from the committee report.

Total NIST

The FY 2011 appropriation was $750.1 million     The FY 2012 Administration request was $1,001.1  million     The House bill provides $700.8 million, a decline of  6.6 percent or $49.3 million from the current year

The report states:

“Public Safety Innovation Fund. - NIST requested  $100,000,000 in mandatory appropriations in fiscal year 2012 for a Public  Safety Innovation Fund. However, this funding is dependent on legislation being  enacted to authorize incentive auctions that would reallocate Federal agency  and commercial spectrum bands over the next ten years.”

Scientific and Technical Research and Services

The FY 2011 appropriation was $507.0 million     The FY 2012 Administration request was $678.9  million     The House bill provides $517.0 million, an increase  of 2.0 percent or $10.0 million from the current year

The report states:

“The recommendation provides funding above the  current year for NIST’s laboratory initiatives that support core measurements  and standards programs that are critical for innovation, competitiveness, and  economic growth. NIST’s unique contribution is the development of physical  science solutions to overcome barriers to innovation.  Within available funding, the Committee  encourages NIST to give priority to supporting measurement science, tools, and       standards necessary for the development and  manufacture of new products and services based on innovative materials, and to  NIST’s Postdoctoral Research Associates Program.

“NIST is encouraged to consider supporting armchair  quantum wire research for applications in long-distance electricity  transmission and wiring, and continuing standards and measurement       work in regenerative medicine technologies. In  addition, the Committee supports NIST’s Public Safety Communications Research Project  and encourages NIST to continue this important program.”

Industrial Technology Services

The FY 2011 appropriation was $173.3 million     The FY 2012 Administration request was $237.6  million     The House bill provides $128.4 million, a decline of  25.9 percent or $44.9 million from the current year

The report states:

“The recommendation does not include funding for the  Technology Innovation Program, the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program, and  the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Consortia Program. The Committee  recommends $128,443,000 for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program,  which is the same as fiscal year 2011 and $14,173,000 below the request.

Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program. - The  Committee commends NIST for its efforts, via the MEP program, to develop the  National Innovation Marketplace (NIM). This internet-based effort is designed  to facilitate partnerships among original equipment manufacturers, parts  suppliers, inventors, distributors, and investors.  NIM is aimed at helping both new and existing  manufacturing companies to innovate their processes, create additional jobs, develop new products, and locate new customers  and market opportunities. The Committee believes that the NIM has the potential  to serve as a highly effective tool for helping to revitalize U.S. manufacturing,  by helping to bring new inventions to market, enabling manufacturers to more  easily locate both component parts suppliers and new customers, and expanding  U.S. manufacturing activity generally.

“The Committee directs that, of the funding provided  for the MEP program for fiscal year 2012, not less than $2,500,000 shall be  devoted toward continuing and expanding NIST’s efforts with regard to the NIM,  including: (1) further developing and refining the web based tools and  functionality of the National Innovation Marketplace, along with updating  content and populating additional participant information onto the NIM Web  site; (2) expanding efforts       to promote the National Innovation Marketplace among  potential users, including by helping to showcase the business capabilities of MEP/NIM  clients; and (3) expanding the training of MEP center and partner staff to  enable them to assist manufacturing clients and other participants in utilizing  the National Innovation Marketplace to ensure that companies find and develop  new growth opportunities and process improvements and establish the marketing and  distribution mechanisms to quickly transition new products into the  marketplace.

MEP matching requirements. - The Committee is  concerned that the Department of Commerce has not established criteria by which  it could develop specific cost-shares for the MEP program. In a recent report  (GAO–11–437R), GAO identified factors that could be taken into account in  considering changes to the current MEP cost share structure. The Committee  directs the Secretary of Commerce to use the key factors and other findings  identified by GAO in its cost-share report to draft criteria for establishing  specific cost shares for the MEP program. Within 90 days of the date of  enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall submit to the Committee a proposed  set of cost-share criteria for the MEP program.

Repatriation of manufacturing. - The Committee  wishes to emphasize the urgent need to revitalize the Nation’s manufacturing base,  including the need to reverse the trend toward offshoring U.S. manufacturing  activities. The Committee encourages NIST, through the MEP and in concert with  repatriation efforts noted elsewhere in this report, to focus efforts on  re-shoring manufacturing, including by developing a suite of tools and services  as appropriate       that MEP centers can use to identify U.S.-based  suppliers for original equipment manufacturers that have off-shored production.”

Construction of Research Facilities

The FY 2011 appropriation was $69.9 million     The FY 2012 Administration request was $84.6 million     The House bill provides recommends $55.4 million, a  decline of 20.7 percent or $14.5 million from the current year

The report states:

Boulder Building 1 renovation. - Of the amounts  provided, $25,381,000 is provided as requested for continued renovation  activities at the Boulder, Colorado, facility. Funding will support interior  renovations of Wings 3, 5, and a portion of Wing 6. NIST is directed to provide  an update on the status of the Boulder renovations by November 14, 2011.

Safety, Capacity, Maintenance, and Major Repairs. -  The remaining $30,000,000 in construction funds are provided for Safety,  Capacity, Maintenance, and Major Repairs.”

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