The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is one of the Nation’s oldest physical science laboratories. At NIST world class science connects to real-world applications. With a varied research portfolio, unique facilities, national networks and international partnerships on standards and technology, NIST works to support U.S. industry and innovation. From cybersecurity to mammograms and advanced manufacturing, innumerable technologies, services and products rely upon NIST expertise, measurement, and standards. NIST has a century-long tradition of partnering with business, universities, and other government agencies to support the nation’s vast innovation ecosystem.
NIST’s three central programs include:
- The NIST Laboratories Program. NIST Laboratories address complex measurement challenges, ranging from the very small (nanoscale devices) to the very large (vehicles and buildings), from the physical (renewable energy sources) to the virtual (cybersecurity and cloud computing), and from fundamental (quantum measurements) to the applied (fire spread rates).
The NIST Laboratory Program provides industry, academia, and other federal agencies with:
- Expertise and leadership in measurement science and best practices in a wide range of disciplines (e.g. physics, chemistry, materials science, information technology, and engineering), ranging from the most basic and to the most applied research to support commercialization and exchange of goods and services in industry and commerce; and
- Facilities that support innovation in materials science, nanotechnology discovery and fabrication, and other emerging technology areas through the NIST Center for Neutron Research, and the NIST Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology;
- Expertise in the development of consensus-based standards, test methods, evaluated data, and specifications that define technical and performance requirements for goods, services, and interfaces to improve interoperability.
- The Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP). NIST provides technical and business assistance to smaller manufacturers through a nationwide network of grant-supported partnerships between federal and state governments and non-profit organizations. Field agents and programs in more than 400 locations nationwide help manufacturers understand, adopt, and apply new technologies and business practices, resulting in increased productivity, better performance, cost savings, waste reduction, and creation and retention of manufacturing jobs.
- The Baldrige Performance and Excellence Program (BPEP). NIST provides criteria for organizational performance self-assessment and serves as a resource to improve U.S. innovation, entrepreneurship, and competitiveness in businesses/industry, education, health care, and government and other public benefit organizations. The BPEP is responsible for managing the Malcolm Baldrige Quality Improvement Act of 1987 (Public Law 100-107).