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

Richard M. Jones
Number 91 - July 18, 2011  |  Search FYI  |   FYI Archives  |   Subscribe to FYI

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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.”

Richard M. Jones
Government Relations Division
American Institute of Physics
rjones@aip.org
301-209-3095