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NIST Standards Services Curricula Development Cooperative Agreement Program

Enriching college curricula to raise awareness of the role of standards and standardization in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), and law, public policy, business, and other related or multi-disciplinary fields.


The Notice of Federal Funding Opportunity (NOFO) announcing the FY18 Program was released on February 16, 2018; the deadline for proposals is Monday, April 16, 2018.

Eligible applicants may apply for awards of up to $75,000 to integrate standards education into undergraduate or graduate-level courses. Funding is awarded in an open, competitive process. 


The Standards Coordination Office (SCO) Standards Services introduced the “Education Challenge Grants” program in Fiscal Year (FY) 2012. The program began with a budget of $150,000; six small grants were awarded to launch the program, supporting the development of new learning resources and course modules integrating standards into the formal curriculum in business and engineering programs.  

The following year, the program was changed from a grant program to a cooperative agreement program, allowing SCO to work more closely with award recipients and to provide greater support to strengthen education and learning about standards and standardization.

  • In FY 2013, NIST awarded $265,000 to three recipients.
  • By FY 2014, the program had grown substantially and had become increasingly competitive. Standards Services supported six awards totaling over $400,000.
  • Six applicants received seven awards for approximately $492,000 in FY15.
  • The number of applicants jumped from 30 to 49 in FY16 and five institutions were awarded over $352,000.   

These numbers fluctuate each year based on various factors such as the number of proposals received and funds available. 

The evaluation criteria have evolved as NIST continues to improve the program each year, but the essential goal has remained the same—support for standards education at US colleges and universities.


Program Criteria

Applicants are evaluated on their ability to meet criteria in four major categories:

  • Technical project approach and methodology;
  • Communication plan;
  • Staffing; and
  • Resources availability.




Created May 16, 2016, Updated November 15, 2019