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Sensing & Measurement

NIST Technology Innovation Program announces R&D projects for infrastructure monitoring and inspection

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has announced nine awards for new research projects to develop advanced sensing technologies that would enable timely and detailed monitoring and inspection of the structural health of bridges, roadways and water systems that comprise a significant component of the nation's public infrastructure.

The awards are the first to be made under NIST's new Technology Innovation Program (TIP), which was created to support innovative, high-risk, high-reward research in areas of critical national need where the government has a clear interest because of the magnitude of the problems and their importance to society. The cost-shared awards initiate up to $88.2 million in new research over the next five years on structure monitoring and inspection technologies, $42.5 million of it potentially funded by TIP.

To further advance its mission, TIP is seeking white papers that will help shape the program's collaborative outreach and competitions in the future. TIP is interested in receiving white papers from academia; Federal, State, and local governments; industry; and professional organizations/societies. White papers may discuss any area of critical national need of interest to the submitter, or may address any of the following topic areas: civil infrastructure, complex networks and complex systems, energy, ensuring future water supply, manufacturing, nanomaterials/nanotechnology, personalized medicine, and sustainable chemistry. Please see the Federal Register notice at http://www.nist.gov/tip/frn_seeking_whitepapers.pdf for further details. Deadlines for submission of white papers to TIP are 15 January, 9 March, 11 May, and 13 July 2009.

Established by the 2007 America COMPETES Act, TIP promotes innovation by "working in areas that no one else does," Director Marc Stanley said at the SPIE Photonics Innovation Summit last November in northern California. TIP "is a lean, mean, very flexible program than can work very closely with university, industry,and state and local governments to make sure that we maintain U.S. competitiveness." Access slides and a podcast of Stanley's presentation on the SPIE Newsroom.

Several of the organizations leading the first TIP projects will present papers at the SPIE Smart Structures/NDE symposium next March in San Diego. Among those are Acellent Technologies, Inc., Northeastern University, the University of California at Irvine, the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, and the University of Texas at Austin.

See the full press release and list of awards.