From automated teller machines and atomic clocks to mammograms and semiconductors, innumerable products and services rely in some way on technology, measurement, and standards provided by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
Founded in 1901, NIST is a non-regulatory federal agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce. NIST's mission is to promote U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards, and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life.
NIST carries out its mission in four cooperative programs:
*the NIST Laboratories, conducting research that advances the nation's technology infrastructure and is needed by U.S. industry to continually improve products and services;
*the Baldrige National Quality Program, which promotes performance excellence among U.S. manufacturers, service companies, educational institutions, and health care providers; conducts outreach programs and manages the annual Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award which recognizes performance excellence and quality achievement;
*he Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership, a nationwide network of local centers offering technical and business assistance to smaller manufacturers; and
*he Technology Innovation Program, which is planned to provide cost-shared awards to industry, universities and consortia for research on potentially revolutionary technologies that address critical national and societal needs. (Note: This is a newly created program that has been authorized by Congress but has not yet received appropriations.)
*Between 1990 and 2007, NIST also managed the Advanced Technology Program.
NIST has an operating budget of about $843 million and operates in two locations: Gaithersburg, Md., (headquarters—234-hectare/578-acre campus) and Boulder, Colo., (84-hectare/208-acre campus). NIST employs about 2,800 scientists, engineers, technicians, and support and administrative personnel. Also, NIST hosts about 2,600 associates and facility users from academia, industry, and other government agencies. In addition, NIST partners with 1,600 manufacturing specialists and staff at nearly 440 MEP service locations around the country.