NIST's mission to support U.S. industry with measurements, standards, and technology depends on a constant infusion of new ideas and expertise to address the rapidly advancing needs of a technology-driven economy. Skilled and motivated people are the most effective source of technology and knowledge transfer. However, NIST competes with the private sector to attract and retain the most talented scientists and engineers and usually cannot match industry salaries inflated by labor shortages in specific fields.
The highly competitive NIST Postdoctoral Research Associateship Program is very effective at attracting outstanding scientists and engineers to consider a NIST career by providing opportunities to work in a rewarding research environment. It provides two-year term appointments for outstanding scientists and engineers chosen through a national competition.
Congress recently authorized a change in the program to allow NIST to hire up to 120 new postdoctoral associates per year, double the previous limit of 60 per year. However, the authorized increase in the number of fellows was not accompanied by an increase in the budget for the program. In recent years, NIST has been maintaining the program at approximately 30-35 new postdoctoral associates per year, down from the target of 40-45 associates per year, because of increased administrative costs, due in part to a substantial increase in applications, and essential increases in salary for incoming associates to remain competitive with other programs.
The requested increase will enable the program to:
This initiative will help to: