America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science Act of 2007 (America COMPETES Act of 2007), Pub. L. No. 110-69 (Aug. 9, 2007), reauthorized by America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010, Pub. L. No. 111-358 (Jan. 6, 2011).
The Act created the new Technology Innovation Program (TIP) to replace the Advanced Technology Program (ATP) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The FY2008 Consolidated Appropriations Act provides funding for TIP. This effort was designed ". . . to support, promote, and accelerate innovation in the United States through high-risk, high-reward research in areas of critical national need," according to the authorizing legislation. NIST published the final rule prescribing the policies and procedures for the TIP activity on June 25, 2008.
The intent of the program is to provide grants to small and medium-sized firms for individual projects or joint ventures with other research organizations to undertake work that:
- (A) has the potential for yielding transformational results with far-ranging or wide-ranging implications;
- (B) addresses critical national needs within the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s areas of technical competence; and
- (C) is too novel or spans too diverse a range of disciplines to fare well in the traditional peer-review process.
Small or medium-sized for-profit firms are eligible for individual project awards of up to $3 million over three years. Collaborative research ventures including small or medium-sized companies, national laboratories, universities, or other non-profit research institutions may be funded for a total of up to $9 million over five years. A competitive, merit-based process is to be used to make grants of up to 50% of total project costs.
The Act also authorized, but did not fund, a new NIST program of partnerships between industry and other educational or research institutions to develop new manufacturing processes, techniques, or materials. In addition, a manufacturing fellowship program would be created with stipends available for post-doctoral work at NIST. These activities differ from the established Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) effort where no new manufacturing research is conducted as existing manufacturing technology is applied to the needs of small and medium-sized firms.