NIST is a unique federal agency. Its mission is broad—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.
An essential part of NIST's work is to anticipate the future. Fast-moving sectors such as nanotechnology, quantum information science, homeland security, information technology, and advanced manufacturing need sophisticated technical support systems to flourish and grow. NIST provides that support by continually improving the U.S. measurement system, developing new technologies, fostering standards, and providing both the business and technical evaluation tools needed to produce quality products and organizations.
Joint Research Organizations
NIST jointly operates research organizations explicitly established to promote the kind of cross-disciplinary collaborations that accelerate research results.
- JILA (Boulder, Colorado)
- Institute for Bioscience and Biotechnology Research (Rockville, Maryland)
- Joint Quantum Institute (College Park, Maryland)
- Hollings Marine Laboratory (Charleston, South Carolina)
- NIST-Stanford Joint Initiative for Metrology in Biology (Stanford, California)
NIST has several user facilities available for both proprietary and non-proprietary research. Access to these facilities is generally provided on a first-come, first-served cost-reimbursable basis. Examples include facilities for gamma-ray sources, small-angle X-ray scattering, nanotechnology, nitrogen flow measurements, heat release calorimetry, and neutron radiography.
NIST researchers frequently collaborate informally with researchers at other organizations. These collaborations often result in joint peer-reviewed papers, short-term visits or tours of NIST laboratories, and sharing of research methods.
Partnering with NIST
To help accomplish its mission, NIST seeks out high-quality partnerships, collaborations, and other interactions with U.S. companies, universities, and agencies at the federal, state, and local levels.
In addition to the programs listed to the right, many of the labs have programs unique to their work. You can find more information about other ways to partner with NIST on the labs' pages.
NIST Centers of Excellence Program
The NIST Centers of Excellence program seeks to provide an interdisciplinary environment where researchers from NIST, academia and industry will collaborate on emerging areas of basic and applied research and innovations in measurement science..
NIST Funding Opportunities
NIST also provides extramural research funding through competitive grants, the Small Business Innovation Research program, AMTech and other programs.
Accessing NIST Research Results
NIST works to disseminate its research results as broadly as possible through peer-reviewed research journals, technical reports, conference presentations, measurement standards, public databases and software, patent disclosures, and other methods.
NIST employs about 3,400 scientists, engineers, technicians, and support and administrative personnel at two locations: Gaithersburg, Maryland, and Boulder, Colorado. NIST also hosts about 2,700 associates from academia, industry, and other government agencies, who collaborate with NIST staff and access user facilities.