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State of the Union Address Highlights Need for Increased Funding in Areas of Innovation


New York, Feb 03, 2006

In an effort to bolster technological innovation, entrepreneurship, and competitiveness, President George W. Bush announced the "American Competitiveness Initiative" at his 2006 State of the Union address. Maintaining that the vitality of the United States economy depends on the nation’s ability to harness the latest technological and scientific developments, Mr. Bush committed to double the funding to federal agencies leading technology research and development over the next ten years.

“To keep America competitive, one commitment is necessary above all: We must continue to lead the world in human talent and creativity,” said Mr. Bush. “With more research in both the public and private sectors, we will improve our quality of life — and ensure that America will lead the world in opportunity and innovation for decades to come.”

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is one of the federal agencies to receive increased funding under the initiative. A member of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), NIST promotes U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards, and technology. In the 2007 fiscal year, NIST will increase its number of scientists, researchers, and engineers to 3,900 — increasing its number of researchers by 600 over the 2006 fiscal year.

“Federal support for basic research leads to crucial advances in technology discovery,” said Dr. Deborah Jin, NIST physicist and special guest at the address. “This endeavor has great potential for economic opportunity and benefit to society.”

Much of the increased funding will be used to fuel research and development in nanotechnology, healthcare information, and security technologies. Voluntary consensus standards are necessary to enable, support, and maintain advancements in these fields. To serve the needs of the government and the private sector, ANSI is currently coordinating standards panels to specifically address these areas of innovation.

Under a contract awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in October 2005, ANSI coordinates the Healthcare Information Technology Standards Panel (HITSP). The HITSP was formed in direct response to President Bush’s call for the adoption of a Nationwide Health Information Network that will support electronic healthcare records for all Americans within ten years. The panel serves as a cooperative partnership between the public and private sectors for the purpose of achieving a widely accepted and useful set of standards specifically to enable and support widespread interoperability among healthcare software applications, as they will interact in a local, regional, and national health information network for the United States.

Formed in 2004, the ANSI Nanotechnology Standards Panel (ANSI-NSP) coordinates and facilitates standards developments in nanotechnology applications. Nanotechnology, which refers to research and development at the atomic, molecular, and macromolecular levels, is expected to revolutionize medicine, computers, biotechnologies, and space travel.

A partnership between the public and private sectors, the goal of the ANSI Homeland Security Standards Panel (ANSI-HSSP) is to identify, promote, and accelerate the adoption of consensus standards necessary to meet homeland security needs. Established in 2003, ANSI-HSSP activities have initially been focused on responding to the standards needs of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

NIST is an active member of all three panels. For more information on how to participate, visit www.ansi.org.

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