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National Institute Of Standards & Technology: More support for manufacturing programs

by Andrea Widener
February 3, 2014 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 92, Issue 5

The National Institute of Standards & Technology will receive a big boost under the omnibus law, giving it $850 million in fiscal 2014, up from $768 million in 2013 post sequester. This 10.7% increase continues a high level of congressional support for the agency, which actually saw a funding increase in 2013 under sequestration.

The newest funding increases are primarily spread over a range of programs, from cybersecurity research and education to disaster resilience. But NIST’s core advanced manufacturing research—including areas such as nanotechnology and materials science—get a larger increase than other programs, up from $105 million in 2013 to $135 million in 2014.

Among the manufacturing support, the omnibus law provides $15 million for the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Consortia, a one-year-old program that gives cost-sharing grants to companies to improve manufacturing and address industry-wide research challenges.

However, the increase for 2014 does not include $1 billion that the Administration had requested to fund the establishment of a National Network for Manufacturing Innovation, which is still being considered by Congress.

In other areas, Congress provides NIST with $5 million to continue its current forensics research activities and to participate in the National Commission on Forensic Science, a panel whose members were named last month by NIST and the Justice Department to recommend changes to the dysfunctional forensic science system in the U.S.

Omnibus legislation also continues support for NIST’s newly created Centers of Excellence program. The law provides $15 million for the centers, including $7 million in new funds to establish centers of excellence in carbon nanomanufacturing and forensic science.

The lab’s greenhouse gas measurement program got a big infusion as well, adding $3 million in 2014 to the approximately $12 million the program received in 2013 post sequester.



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