President Barack Obama remains bullish on science and technology investment, as his fiscal year (FY) 2012 budget proposal announced earlier this week proposes a funding level of $1.001 billion for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), an 8.9 percent increase over the President”s FY 2011 budget request and a 16.9 percent increase above NIST”s FY 2010 appropriations.
The 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 total request of $1.001 billion for NIST is divided into three appropriations:
Scientific and Technical Research and Services (STRS), $678.9 million, to fund NIST”s laboratory programs as well as a number of initiatives in cyber security; standards for emerging, complex technology systems; manufacturing and biomanufacturing; nanotechnology; infrastructure improvement; and others.
Industrial Technology Services (ITS), $237.6 million for the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) ($142.6 million), the Technology Innovation Program (TIP) ($75 million), the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program (BPEP) ($7.7 million) and a new Advanced Manufacturing Technology Consortia (AMTech) Program ($12.3 million).
Construction of Research Facilities (CRF), $84.6 million for the agency”s regular maintenance and repair budget as well as a new initiative to renovate the agency”s principal research building at the NIST Boulder (Colo.) campus.
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.