NIST prepares for final awards in IT R&D funding program

The National Institute of Standards and Technology is evaluating proposals for the final round of awards under its Advanced Technology Program, which is being eliminated in the agency's fiscal 2008 funding.

The America Competes Act, signed into law Aug. 9, authorizes funding for NIST for the next three years and would double NIST's research and development budget over 10 years. But it also ends the Advanced Technology Program, intended to accelerate the development of challenging, high-risk technologies with the potential for significant commercial payoffs. Implemented in 1990, the program encourages the R&D community to take on projects that would ordinarily be too risky for companies, but which have commensurately higher potential payoffs.

ATP is being replaced with the Technology Innovation Program (TIP). NIST will work on details of implementing regulations for this new program.

The America Competes Act (Public Law No. 110-69) authorizes a NIST budget of $863 million for fiscal 2008, up from $676.9 million in fiscal 2007.

Although ATP is being phased out, the funding bill allows for continued support for previous and pending ATP awards. The Consolidated Appropriations Act earmarked around $179.2 million for ATP this fiscal year, of which $61 million will go to new grants. NIST plans to announce awards for the 2007 competition by Sept. 30. ATP this year solicited proposals in all technology areas, but focused on four broad areas of national interest:
  • Technologies for advanced and complex systems
  • Challenges in advanced materials and devices
  • 21st-century manufacturing and
  • Nanotechnology

The agency held a series of proposers' conferences around the country in April and the deadline for submitting proposals was in May. Finalists for the final round of funding have been notified.

About the Author

William Jackson is freelance writer and the author of the CyberEye blog.

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