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8 things to know from the FY 2020 budget

December 19, 2019
By: Jason Rittenberg

Congress is expected to pass the FY 2020 budget this week, and as anticipated, the bills include billions in new appropriations. Innovation policy priorities, such as Regional Innovation Strategies, Manufacturing Extension Partnership, and NSF, did well in the final budget. Here are the top things to know about innovation initiatives in the final budget.

1. Regional Innovation Strategies receives $33 million

The Economic Development Administration (EDA) is seeing its funding increase by $29 million to $333 million for FY 2020. This growth includes an increase of $9.5 million — or 40 percent — for Regional Innovation Strategies.

Expanding the program has been a top priority for SSTI’s Innovation Advocacy Council, and RIS has strong support on the Hill. At the time of the subcommittee markup for EDA’s budget, Chairman Jerry Moran said, “I am proud to say that the program will receive its largest year-over-year increase in the program’s history.”

2. Increased support for manufacturing innovation

The National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST) is seeing increases for two significant programs supporting innovation among manufacturers. The Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program will receive $146 million (an additional $6 million) in FY 2020, and Manufacturing USA center activities will receive $16 million (an additional $1 million).

3. Stable funding for SBA’s innovation-related programs

The Small Business Administration’s Regional Innovation Clusters ($5 million), FAST Partnership program ($3 million), and Growth Accelerator Fund Competition ($2 million) will all receive level funding for FY 2020.

4. National Science Foundation grows by $203 million

NSF’s topline budget increased to $8.3 billion for FY 2020. This funding includes an additional $14 million for the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR — now $190 million) and an additional $5 million for I-Corps (now approximately $35 million).

5. Every National Institute of Health receives at least 3.3 percent more funding

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is receiving an additional $2.6 billion in funding for a total of $41.7 billion in FY 2020. This includes an increase of at least 3.3 percent for each of the individual institutes. The Institutional Development Award (IDeA — NIH’s parallel to EPSCoR) received an increase of $25 million to $387 million.

6. ARPA-E receives a boost

The Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) is set to receive a 15-percent increase in funding to $425 million ($35 million of which is two-year funding). The agency is currently the subject of competing reauthorization bills with different visions for future project investments.

7. New opportunity for rural innovation champions

Following the creation of the Rural Innovation Stronger Economy (RISE) program in last year’s Farm Bill, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s FY 2020 budget includes $5 million to launch the new program.

8. EDA to support STEM apprenticeships

The EDA budget includes $2 million for STEM apprenticeships, an activity that has been authorized for several years but never previously funded.


The House has passed the FY 2020 budget, and the Senate is expected to pass the bills this week. Once approved, they will head to the president for signature. Government funding ends at midnight on Dec. 20.

SSTI will provide members with a detailed breakdown of the full budget in early 2020.

To learn more about SSTI’s work to advance federal innovation policy, or to become a SSTI member or supporter of the Innovation Advocacy Council, contact Jason Rittenberg (rittenberg@ssti.org | 614.901.1690).

federal budget, fy20budget, RIS