Funding for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, would increase by 16.9 percent or $144.5 million from $856.6 million to $1,001.1 million compared to FY 2010 appropriated levels under President Obama’s FY 2012 budget request to Congress. In his statement introducing the budget request, NIST Director Patrick Gallagher said that "[t]he President's budget request for NIST reflects the critical role that measurement science, standards and directed technological investments play in ensuring and enhancing the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturers and U.S. industry. Further investments in research and development will also help to generate new innovations that will create the jobs and high-tech industries of the future."
NIST’s budget summary says that “[t]he NIST budget request reinforces the Administration's commitment to science and technology by doubling funding for NIST laboratories, one of several strategies for maintaining U.S. technological leadership laid out in the President's Plan for Science and Innovation and reaffirmed in the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-358).”
The research programs of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the National Science Foundation, and the Department of Energy’s Office of Science and have been put on a budget doubling track. President Obama is continuing an initiative launched by President George W. Bush in 2006 to double funding for these agencies to ensure U.S. leadership in science and technology. Recommendations to double this funding were made in the Rising Above the Gathering Storm reports, and were the foundation for the original America COMPETES Act.
There are three major components of the NIST budget: Scientific and Technical Research and Services, Industrial Technology Services, and Construction of Research Facilities. Descriptions of NIST’s programs may be viewed here and additional budget information may be found here.
Scientific and Technical Research and Services:
Up 31.8 percent or $163.9 million from $515.0 million to $678.9 million.
This account supports NIST’s laboratory programs and other activities.
Industrial Technology Services:
Up 22.1 percent or $43.0 million from $194.6 million to $237.6 million.
The two biggest programs included in this request are:
Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP): Up 14.4 percent or $17.9 million from $124.7 million to $142.6 million Technology Innovation Program (TIP): Up 7.3 percent or $5.1 million from $69.9 million to $75 million
Construction of Research Facilities:
Down 42.4 percent or $62.4 million from $147.0 million to $84.6 million.
NIST’s budget summary also adds this note:
“In addition to the three appropriations outlined above, the Administration will be submitting authorizing legislation for the auction of spectrum licenses to collect up to an estimated $27 billion in revenue by 2021, of which $500 million is proposed for re-allocation to NIST between 2012-2016 for the Public Safety Innovation Fund (PSIF). The PSIF is NIST's component of the Wireless Innovation Fund as part of the President's Wireless Innovation and Infrastructure Initiative (WI3). This initiative proposes to reallocate a total of 500 megahertz of federal agency and commercial spectrum bands over the next 10 years to allow greater access to wireless broadband.”