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Budget Numbers Not Nasty at NIST

Upbeat budget numbers are the order of the day for the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology. Last year, NIST snagged an impressive 8.4% increase to its bottom line. On top of that, early this year it received a $580 million bonus from the $787 billion stimulus plan, equal to 70% of the agency’s FY 2009 budget. Now, the president’s 2010 budget aims to up NIST’s annual take to $846 million, another 3.3% rise. That’s actually bigger than it looks, because the FY 2009 budget was inflated by $74 million in Congressional earmarks.

Atop the winners within NIST was the agency’s national measurement and standards laboratories, which are slated for a 13% increase. The boost puts the budget of the NIST labs on a 10-year doubling path by 2016. Within the labs, the biggest winners were the information technology lab and the materials science and engineering lab. Also faring well were NIST’s external industrial support programs, such as the Technology Innovation Program, which pulled in an additional 11%, raising its budget to $70 million, after having survived repeated attempts by the Bush Administration to kill it. Among the Obama Administration initiatives that look to be supported are efforts to build a smart grid, advance solar energy, and revamp information technology in health care.