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Technology Innovation Program (TIP)

The America COMPETES Act (PL 110-69, signed on Aug. 9, 2007) created a new Technology Innovation Program (TIP) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). TIP was established “to support, promote, and accelerate innovation in the United States through high-risk, high-reward research in areas of critical national need.

TIP is aimed at speeding the development of high-risk, transformative research targeted to address key societal challenges. Funding could be provided to industry (small and medium-sized businesses), universities, and consortia for research on potentially revolutionary technologies for meeting critical national needs that present high technical risks—with commensurate high rewards if successful. The primary mechanism for this support would be cost-shared research grants, cooperative agreements, or contracts awarded on the basis of merit competitions.


The America COMPETES Act authorized the establishment of the Technology Innovation Program. Before NIST can begin holding TIP competitions and making awards, the operational details of the program must be established through a formal rule-making procedure, and Congress would have to pass an appropriation bill funding the program. NIST is in the process of drafting a rule for TIP, and expects to publish it for public comment by early Spring, 2008.


The major features of the Technology Innovation Program are established in the authorizing legislation. Some highlights:

  • TIP is to make cost-shared awards of no more than 50 percent of total project costs to high-risk R&D projects that address critical national and societal needs in NIST’s areas of technical competence. 

  • Projects may be proposed either by individual, for-profit companies or by joint ventures that may include for-profit companies, institutions of higher learning, national laboratories or non-profit research institutes, so long as the lead partner is either a small or medium-sized business or an institution of higher learning.

  • Awards are to be limited to no more than $3 million total over three years for a single-company project or no more than $9 million total over five years for a joint venture. 

  • TIP may not provide funding to any business that is not a small or medium-sized business, though those businesses may participate in a TIP funded project.

Additional details

Date created: 10/09/2007
Last updated: 12/07/2007