From the smart electric power grid and electronic health records to atomic clocks, advanced nanomaterials, and computer chips, 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 through the following programs:
the NIST Laboratories, conducting world-class research, often in close collaboration with industry, that advances the nation's technology infrastructure and helps U.S. companies continually improve products and services;
the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership, a nationwide network of local centers offering technical and business assistance to smaller manufacturers to help them create and retain jobs, increase profits, and save time and money; and
the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program, which promotes performance excellence among U.S. manufacturers, service companies, educational institutions, health care providers, and nonprofit organizations; conducts outreach programs; and manages the annual Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, which recognizes performance excellence and quality achievement.
The agency operates in two locations: Gaithersburg, Md., (headquarters—234-hectare/578-acre campus) and Boulder, Colo., (84-hectare/208-acre campus). NIST employs about 3,400 scientists, engineers, technicians, and support and administrative personnel. NIST also hosts about 3,800 associates from academia, industry, and other government agencies, who collaborate with NIST staff and access user facilities. In addition, NIST partners more than 1,300 manufacturing specialists and staff at more than 400 MEP service locations around the country.