February 2024 NIST Congressional and Legislative Affairs Constituent Newsletter


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NIST Congressional and
Legislative Affairs

Constituent Newsletter  – February 2024

Recent News

Key Executive Leadership at U.S. AI Safety Institute Announced

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo announced key members of the executive leadership team to lead the U.S. AI Safety Institute (AISI), which will be established at NIST.  Raimondo named Elizabeth Kelly to lead the Institute as its inaugural Director and Elham Tabassi to serve as Chief Technology Officer. The U.S. AI Safety Institute was established under NIST at the direction of President Biden to support the responsibilities assigned to the Department of Commerce under the President’s landmark Executive Order.

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NIST Study on Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in Firefighter Gear

Last year, a study by NIST showed that the textiles used in protective clothing worn by firefighters often contain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, a class of chemicals that has been linked to an increased risk of cancer and other health effects.

Now, a follow-up study from NIST shows that the textiles used in that protective clothing, called turnout gear, tend to release more PFAS when they are subject to wear and tear. Taken together, the two studies identified the PFAS compounds present in selected turnout gear textiles, how much of each was present, and whether simulated wear and tear increased the amount of PFAS that the textiles released. 

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On January 30, 2024, Jason Averill, Deputy Director of the NIST Engineering Laboratory testified before the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology Subcommittee on Research and Technology.  The hearing was entitled "From Risk to Resilience: Reauthorizing the Earthquake and Windstorm Hazards Reduction Programs”.  The purpose of the hearing was to discuss the NIST roles in the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) and the National Windstorm Impact Reduction Program (NWIRP).


You can view a copy of Mr. Averill’s testimony or video of the hearing.

Funding Announcements

Notice of Intent: CHIPS Manufacturing USA Institute

CHIPS for America is investing at least $200 million in a CHIPS Manufacturing USA Institute to create the first-of-its-kind digital twin institute to lead the world in revolutionizing semiconductor and advanced packaging manufacturing. 

On January 31, 2024, the Department of Commerce issued a Notice of Intent (NOI) to announce a competition for this new institute.

On February 12, 2024 from 12:30pm – 5:00pm EST you can learn about the forthcoming CHIPS for America Digital Twin Manufacturing USA Institute from staff members of CHIPS and the Manufacturing USA national coordination office. Provide feedback on the gaps the institute should address and its member-led research projects.  The agenda includes breakout sessions and brief one-on-one discussions. In order to give participants an opportunity to discuss ideas, breakout sessions will be limited to 30 people per session. Registration for one-on-one discussions closes at 5:00pm on Friday, February 9th.

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Notice of Funding Opportunity for Center of Excellence in Climate Measurements

NIST is seeking eligible applicants for the creation of an interdisciplinary Center of Excellence in Climate Measurements. The center will coordinate activities to advance efforts to establish national standardization of methods and metrics for forecasting consequences of climate trends at scales important to communities across multiple geographies and over time. The center will carry out research and will act as a convener and leader in this field of research by collaborating with NIST and other stakeholders to develop standard practices, methodologies, and tools that will assist communities in making quantitative predictions of climate-related effects on their communities.

In Fiscal Year 2024, NIST anticipates funding one award for up to $2,667,900 in federal funding and with a project performance period of up to three years.  The application deadline is 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time, April 1, 2024.

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NIST and NSF Award Nearly $7.1M to 15 Universities to Support Disaster Resilience

NIST and the National Science Foundation (NSF) have awarded nearly $7.1 million in grants to fund research that will improve the ability of buildings, infrastructure and communities to withstand severe natural hazards. The projects are funded through the Disaster Resilience Research Grant (DRRG) program, which is jointly managed by NIST and NSF.

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