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NIST Recovery Plan Approved

Photonics.com
May 2009
GAITHERSBURG, Md., May 20, 2009 – The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has received Congressional approval on its recovery plan to create jobs, strengthen the economy and encourage innovation. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) was first signed into law by President Barack Obama on Feb. 17, 2009.

Under the ARRA, NIST, which is under the Commerce Department, was granted $580 million in direct appropriations, along with an additional $30 million transferred from other federal agencies, to invest in construction projects, grants, scientific equipment and research fellowships.

“The funds will help our nation transition to electronic health records, develop an electricity smart grid that will save money and energy, and pay for state-of-the-art facilities and research that will keep our nation at the forefront of cutting-edge science and technology,” said Gary Locke, US commerce secretary.

The additional $30 million transferred to NIST from other federal agencies will be covered in a subsequent spending plan.

NIST recovery plan highlights

Through Scientific and Technical Research and Services (STRS), NIST’s funding ($220 million) provides for investment in “research, competitive grants, additional research fellowships and advanced research and measurement equipment and supplies.”

NIST’s Recovery Plan calls for: 

$119 million for high-value research and measurement equipment to be purchased through a competitive award process 

$35 million for competitive research grants for measurement science in priority areas 

$22 million to expand the postdoctoral fellowship program to create postdoctoral fellowships for recent PhDs and to extend some existing fellowships through the end of FY 2010 

$20 million for a grant to one or more organizations to provide additional scientist and engineer fellowships 

$5 million in competitive contracts for small businesses under the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program 

$5 million in competitive contracts to assist in activities associated with smart grid devices and systems 

$5 million in competitive research contracts for specific areas of cybersecurity that advance its mission and address national priorities for protecting cyberspace  

$9 million in contracts to improve NIST information technology infrastructure for improving measurements and research

Of the total construction of research facilities (CRF) funding ($360 million), $180 million will “address NIST’s backlog of maintenance and renovation and for construction of new facilities and laboratories.”

The Recovery Plan specifies:

$68.5 million to complete funding for a precision measurement laboratory at NIST’s site in Boulder, Colo. This funding includes enhancements in the performance and capacity of the advanced laboratory; construction of a state-of-the-art cleanroom, essential for the most advanced research in nanotechnology, quantum information and ultraprecise atomic clocks; and higher-performance outfitting of laboratories tailored to individual research and measurement projects

$39 million to carry out safety, capacity, maintenance and major repair projects that enhance the performance of the institute’s aging facilities

$16 million for energy- and water-saving support infrastructure at NIST’s Center for Neutron Research (NCNR) expansion project

$16 million to fund the design and construction of a National Structural Fire Resistance Laboratory, a unique resource that studies how fires start and propagate in various structures, and how those fires can be prevented and suppressed – research that could save thousands of lives and billions of dollars in property damage

$15 million to fund the design and construction of facilities across the country that will improve the synchronization to NIST time of tens of millions of consumer clocks, watches and other timepieces

$9 million for relocation and consolidation of advanced robotics and logistics operations

$7.5 million to fund the construction of liquid helium recovery systems for NIST sites in Gaithersburg and Boulder. These sites help conserve an increasingly scarce resource used widely in low-temperature research

$7 million for design and construction of an emergency services consolidated station in Gaithersburg to house the NIST fire and police services; and

$2 million for a net-zero-energy residential test facility in Gaithersburg

With the additional $180 million provided in the CRF appropriation, NIST will fund a competitive construction grants program to build research science buildings. NIST will award a portion of the grants to unfunded meritorious applications submitted under its fiscal year 2008 competition and a portion to a new 2009 competition.

For more information, visit: www.nist.gov/recovery  


GLOSSARY
photonics
The technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. The science includes light emission, transmission, deflection, amplification and detection by optical components and instruments, lasers and other light sources, fiber optics, electro-optical instrumentation, related hardware and electronics, and sophisticated systems. The range of applications of photonics extends from energy generation to detection to communications and...
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