[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 171 (Friday, September 4, 2009)]
[Pages 45823-45825]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-21421]



National Institute of Standards and Technology

Technology Innovation Program (TIP) Seeks White Papers

AGENCY: National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), 
Department of Commerce.

ACTION: Notice.


SUMMARY: The National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) 
Technology Innovation Program (TIP) announces that it is seeking white 
papers from any interested party, including academia; federal, state, 
and local governments; industry; national laboratories; and 
professional organizations/societies. White papers will be used to 
identify and select areas of critical national need and the associated 
technical challenges to be addressed in future TIP competitions.

DATES: The suggested dates for submission of white papers are November 
9, 2009, February 15, 2010, May 10, 2010, and July 12, 2010. However, 
TIP will accept white papers at any time during the period November 9, 
2009 through September 30, 2010.

ADDRESSES: White papers must be submitted to TIP as follows:
    Electronic (e-mail) submission: [email protected].

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Thomas Wiggins at 301-975-5416 or by 
e-mail at [email protected].


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    Background Information: The Technology Innovation Program (TIP) at 
the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) was 
established for the purpose of assisting U.S. businesses and 
institutions of higher education or other organizations, such as 
national laboratories and nonprofit research institutions, to support, 
promote, and accelerate innovation in the United States through high-
risk, high-reward research in areas of Critical National Need. The TIP 
statutory authority is Section 3012 of the America Creating 
Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, 
Education, and Science (COMPETES) Act, Public Law 110-69 (August 9, 
2007), 15 U.S.C.A. Sec.  278n (2008). The TIP implementing regulations 
are published at 15 CFR Part 296 (73 FR 35,913 (June 25, 2008)).
    TIP holds competitions for funding based on addressing areas of 
critical national need. TIP identifies and selects topics for areas of 
critical national need based on input from within NIST, the TIP 
Advisory Board, the science and technology communities, and from the 
public. TIP is interested in receiving input on the identification and 
definition of problems that are sufficiently large in magnitude that 
they have the potential to inhibit the growth and well-being of our 
nation today. This announcement explains the requirements and process 
for submitting white papers to TIP by interested parties. White papers 
from experts in other federal agencies are valued and welcome, and will 
enable TIP to complement the efforts of other mission agencies and 
avoid duplication of their efforts, thereby leveraging resources to 
benefit the nation.
    The key concepts, enumerated below, are the foundation of TIP and 
should form the basis of an effective white paper:
    a. An area of critical national need means an area that justifies 
government attention because the magnitude of the problem is large and 
the associated societal challenges that need to be overcome are not 
being addressed, but could be addressed through high-risk, high-reward 
    b. A societal challenge is a problem or issue confronted by society 
that when not addressed could negatively affect the overall function 
and quality of life of the Nation, and as such, justifies government 
action. A societal challenge is associated with barriers preventing the 
successful development of solutions to the area of critical national 
need. TIP's mission is to tackle the technical issues that can be 
addressed through high-risk, high-reward research. The results of the 
high-risk, high-reward research should have the potential for 
transformational results.
    c. A transformational result is a potential project outcome that 
enables disruptive changes over and above current methods and 
strategies. Transformational results have the potential to radically 
improve our understanding of systems and technologies, challenging the 
status quo of research approaches and applications.
    The white papers are expected to contain: A description of an area 
of critical national need and the associated societal challenge(s) 
(what is the problem, why is it a problem, and why is it challenging); 
why government support is needed, and what could happen if that support 
is not provided in the proposed time frame; and a high level discussion 
of potential scientific advancements and/or technologies that are 
needed to address the societal challenges; and an indication of the 
types of entities or groups who might be interested in developing 
proposal submissions to fund these scientific and/or technology 
approaches. Do not include ideas for specific proposals in the white 
paper (i.e., your specific solution to the problem).
    This solicitation for white papers is neither a Request for 
Proposals (RFP) nor should it be viewed as a request for pre-proposals. 
Rather, it is a way to include ideas from the public to identify 
problems that justify government support and can be addressed by 
technological innovations that are not currently being sufficiently 
supported to meet the challenge.
    White papers must not contain proprietary information. Submission 
of a white paper means that the author(s) agrees that all the 
information in the white paper can be made available to the public.
    Information contained in these white papers will be considered and 
combined with information from other resources--including the vision of 
the Administration, NIST, other government agencies, technical 
communities, the TIP Advisory Board, and other stakeholders--to develop 
the scope of future competitions and to shape TIP's collaborative 
outreach. White papers are a valuable resource that adds to TIP's 
understanding of the significance and scope of critical national needs 
and associated societal challenges. The white papers submitted could be 
shared with the Administration, NIST, other government agencies, 
technical communities, the TIP Advisory Board, other stakeholders and 
the public as part of the selection process for future competitions.
    For detailed instructions on how to prepare and submit white 
papers, refer to ``A Guide for Preparing and Submitting White Papers on 
Areas of Critical National Need.'' The Guide is available on the TIP 
Web site at http://www.nist.gov/tip/guide_for_white_papers.pdf.
    In this call for white papers, TIP is seeking information in all 
areas of critical national need, but also seeks information to assist 
TIP in further defining several topic areas under development. White 
papers that address any of the following areas may further develop the 
definition and scope of the critical national need suggested by these 
topic areas, and should additionally identify and explain specific 
societal challenges within these critical national need areas that 
require a technical solution. White papers may discuss any critical 
national need area of interest to the submitter, or may address any of 
the following topic areas:
    Civil Infrastructure: Civil infrastructure constitutes the basic 
fabric of the world in which we live and work. It is the combination of 
fundamental systems that support a community, region, or country. The 
civil infrastructure includes systems for transportation (airport 
facilities, roads, bridges, rail, waterway locks); and systems for 
water distribution and flood control (water distribution systems, storm 
and waste water collection, dams, and levees). New construction 
approaches and materials to improve the infrastructure and for 
mitigating the expense of repairing or replacing existing 
infrastructure appear to be areas with the potential for specific 
societal challenges within this area of critical national need.
    Examples could include challenges such as: Advanced materials for 
repair and rehabilitation of existing infrastructure, advanced 
inspection and monitoring technologies that assist public safety 
officials in determining the condition of structures, or areas of 
sustainability of infrastructure construction.
    Complex networks and complex systems: Society is increasingly 
dependent on complex networks like those used for energy delivery, 
telecommunication, transportation, and finance over which we have 
imperfect control. No single organization and no collection of 
organizations have the ability to effectively control these multi-
scale, distributed, highly interactive networks. Complex network theory 
will also be important in modeling neural systems, molecular 

[[Page 45825]]

response to disease, and environmental systems. The current technical 
and mathematical methodologies that underpin our ability to simulate 
and model physical systems are unable to predict and control the 
behavior of complex systems. Stability and control of these networks 
can have far reaching consequences to our quality of life.
    Examples could include challenges such as: Theoretical advances 
and/or proof-of-concept applications; or capabilities that can 
potentially address and advance the use of complex network analyses in 
the following areas--sustainable manufacturing models, resource 
management and environmental impacts (energy, water, agriculture), 
intelligent transportation systems, biological systems, communications 
networks, security systems, personalized healthcare, and others.
    Energy: From agriculture to manufacturing, all endeavors require 
energy as input. Escalating energy demands throughout the world can 
lead to national security challenges, financially challenge national 
economies, and contribute to environmental alterations. Although 
heavily supported projects exist in energy research, there remain 
technical roadblocks that affect full deployment of new and emerging 
energy technologies.
    Examples could include challenges such as: Technologies for 
improved manufacturing of critical components for alternative energy 
production; replacement of fossil-fuel derived fuels with non-food, 
renewably produced fuels; or improved technologies for stable 
connections of many power sources to the electrical grid.
    Ensuring Future Water Supply: The Nation's population and economic 
growth places greater demands on freshwater resources. At the same 
time, temporary or permanent drought conditions and water access rights 
affect regional freshwater availability. Water needs threaten to 
outstrip available freshwater, now and in the future. Water quality, 
both in terms of decontamination and disinfection of water supplies, is 
also being pressured by emerging contaminants that must either be 
removed from distributed water or converted to harmless forms of waste. 
Food contaminations are often traced back to water contaminations, 
either in the field or in processing. Municipal waste streams and 
irrigation runoff may waste resources that are not captured and/or 
    Examples could include challenges such as: Means to provide future 
fresh water supplies without undue consumption of energy resources; 
means that determine and assure the safety of water and food from 
waterborne contamination; or means to economically recover resources 
from wastewater streams and lower the energy cost of producing 
freshwater and potable water from marginalized water resources.
    Healthcare: Healthcare spending per capita in the United States is 
high and rising, and currently approved drugs work only in a fraction 
of the population. Doctors are unable to select optimal drug treatments 
and dosages based on the patient's unique genetics, physiology, and 
metabolic processes, resulting in a trial and error component to 
treatment. As a consequence, significant expenditures result in drugs 
that are ineffective on subsets of patients, and a clearer 
understanding of which patients may suffer side effects from prescribed 
medicine is lacking. The key to patient response lies in greater 
understanding of both genetic variability and environmental influences 
on disease mechanisms.
    Examples could include challenges such as: Cost effective advanced 
tools and techniques for genomics and proteomics research that provide 
greater understanding of complex biological systems, biomarker 
identification, and targeted drug and vaccine delivery systems; 
improved and low cost diagnostic and therapeutic systems; or better 
methods of integration and analysis of biological data, especially when 
combined with environmental and patient history data.
    Manufacturing: Manufacturing is a vital part of our nation's 
economy, which now is facing increasing global competitiveness 
challenges, regulations and controls over environmental and resource 
issues, and other economic pressures. Technical advances have at times 
been able to address productivity and other issues, but the recent 
pressures on the manufacturing community have hindered their ability to 
focus the necessary resources on longer term solutions that could lead 
to economic growth in this sector which the nation needs.
    Examples could include challenges such as: Manufacturing systems 
that have shorter innovation cycles, more flexibility, and are rapidly 
reconfigurable; accelerating commodization of next generation, high-
performance materials, such as nanomaterials, composites, and alloys to 
specification, in a consistent, efficient and effective manner; or life 
cycle assessment tools, an aid toward sustainable manufacturing; and 
better automation solutions.
    Nanomaterials/nanotechnology: The unique properties of 
nanomaterials provide extraordinary promise. There is a need for 
greater understanding and solutions to overcome the barriers associated 
with manufacturing nanomaterials and their incorporation into products, 
while maintaining the unique functionality of the nanomaterial. 
Although many processes are achievable in the laboratory, the scale-up 
to industrial production without compromising the quality of the 
produced material can be highly problematic.
    Examples could include challenges such as: Methods required for 
manufacturing nanomaterials with pre-specified functionality and 
morphology; methods for inspection and real-time monitoring the 
processing of nanomaterials; or methods for incorporation of 
nanomaterial into products without compromising the material's required 
    Sustainability: ``Sustainability,'' as defined by a widely used 
definition is ``meeting the needs of the present generation without 
compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.'' 
Clearly, sustainability is an attractive and desirable concept for the 
nation. TIP is interested in technologies that reduce or eliminate the 
environmental ``footprint'' of industrial processes and public waste 
streams. Sustainability is a complex and highly-interdisciplinary 
endeavor with economic, environmental, and societal dimensions. In this 
context, the white papers should address elements such as cost 
effectiveness, energy efficiency, recyclability, safety, resource use, 
life-cycle analysis, and ecosystem health.
    Examples could include challenges such as: Technologies to develop 
feedstocks from renewable sources; technologies to recover resources 
(minerals, materials, energy, water) from industry and other/public 
waste streams; low-cost, low-energy separation technologies; and 
replacement of hazardous/toxic materials with safer, more cost 
effective materials and/or process technology.

    Dated: September 1, 2009.
Patrick Gallagher,
Deputy Director.
[FR Doc. E9-21421 Filed 9-3-09; 8:45 am]