NIST targeting millions in funding for tech R&D

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) last week launched a new competition for grants to support new or expanded R&D facilities as well as a three-year plan outlining its R&D funding direction.

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The NIST Construction Grant Program will make $20 million or so available for $5 million to $10 million grants over no more than five years for purpose of building new science buildings, labs, R&D facilities or expanding existing ones. Since 2008, the program has funded new or expanded facilities at 24 institutions to address everything from earthquake to quantum physics research. The grants involve cost sharing with the institutions.

Proposals must fit with research goals of one or more Commerce Department science agency, including NIST, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

Separately, NIST outlined a 3-year plan identifying topics for possible future Technology Innovation Program competitions for funding high risk R&D projects.   Awards are limited to no more than $3 million over three years per individual institution project or $9 million over up to five yars per joint venture project.

Advances sensing technologies, advanced materials, smart grid and personalized medicine are some of the topics up for near term funding competitions. Complex networks, which could include communications networks and security systems, is another topic further out on the game plan.

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