GAITHERSBURG, MD-The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) reports that it will receive $610 million in funds as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The agency says it will use the funds for programs that support U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness.

The act provides $220 million in direct appropriations for NIST laboratory research, competitive grants, research fellowships, and advanced research and measurement equipment and supplies. An additional $360 million in direct appropriations is provided for construction of research facilities, half for NIST projects and half for a competitive grant program for science research facilities outside of NIST. Additional funding transferred to NIST from other federal agencies includes $20 million for standards-related work on electronic medical records to assist in modernizing the health care system and $10 million for collaborative efforts to develop a comprehensive framework for a nationwide, fully interoperable smart grid for the U.S. electric power system.

“With this funding, we expect to create jobs and advance the U.S. science and technological infrastructure by building critically needed research facilities, expanding fellowships and research grants, and addressing important national priorities critical to our nation's future,” says NIST Deputy Director Patrick D. Gallagher.

Department of Commerce agencies receiving one-time funds through the act are required to submit a plan to Congress with specifics on how allocations will be spent within 60 days of the legislation being enacted. After completion, NIST’s plan will be available to the public, along with directions for applying for research fellowships, grants or construction funding at the Department of Commerce and NIST's Web sites.

“We take very seriously the requirements to ensure that the recovery act funding is used as effectively as possible for near-term economic benefits and longer-term economic growth,” says Gallagher. “We will use these funds wisely and in a manner that ensures transparency and accountability.”

Requests and applications for funding will be accepted when instructions and rules are posted for specific competitions.

For more information on the NIST,