Dr. Walter Copan Testifies Before House Science Committee on NIST FY20 Budget

Apr 18, 2019

Dr. Walter Copan, Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) recently testified before the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology’s Subcommittee on Research and Technology. Copan’s testimony was in support of the NIST FY20 budget as well as the agency’s mission priorities in the year ahead.

The President’s FY20 budget request would cut roughly $300 million from NIST’s budget, significantly impacting the agency’s manufacturing programs and eliminating the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP). The MEP is a public-private partnership to support small and medium-sized manufacturers through a support network located in all 50 states that provides access to tools, training, and information to operate efficiently and promote innovation. Congress rejected the call to eliminate MEP in each of the last two years and provided the program with $140 million in funding last year.

The President’s budget would provide increases for Cybersecurity and the Manufacturing USA program. Manufacturing USA would receive a $200,000 or 1.1 percent increase over FY19, while cybersecurity would receive a $1.2 million, or 1.3 percent budget increase. Copan celebrated these budget increases, noting that “Manufacturing USA, the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation serves to create effective robust manufacturing research infrastructure for U.S. industry and academia to solve industry-relevant problems.”

Other notable budget highlights include an additional $10 million towards advanced manufacturing and material measurements activities. Dr. Copan explained that these activities “provide industry with precision measurement technologies, tests, protocols, trusted systems, and world-class scientific and engineering knowledge through targeted research across a broad portfolio—including advanced materials development, advanced sensing, biomanufacturing, and smart manufacturing systems.”

While the president’s budget received mixed criticism from committee leadership at the hearing, Dr. Copan asserted that “NIST is committed to doing the very best it can with a budget that we are ultimately allocated through this process.”

To view the president’s budget in full, click here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/budget-fy2020.pdf

To view an archived webcast of Dr. Copan’s testimony at the hearing, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zdh9ijA_Zxw

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