Created by NIST Boulder in 1991, the Professional Research Experience Program (PREP) is designed to provide valuable laboratory experience and financial assistance to undergraduates, graduate students, postdocs, and faculty. The program is intended to assure continued growth and progress of a highly skilled science, technology, engineering, math (STEM) workforce in the United States.
PREP is a 5-year cooperative agreement between NIST laboratories and participating PREP Universities to establish a collaborative research relationship between NIST and U.S. institutions of higher education in the following disciplines including (but may not be limited to) biochemistry, biological sciences, chemistry, computer science, engineering, electronics, materials science, mathematics, nanoscale science, neutron science, physical science, physics, and statistics.
PREP is a competitive program and driven by demand of the NIST laboratories. Generally, the request starts with NIST having an opportunity and funding for a researcher. NIST partners with the PREP Universities to advertise and recruit for the appointments.
As required by the NOFO, PREP researchers are required to be affiliated with a participating university. PREP appointments occur by the following mechanisms:
Proposal of a research opportunity which aligns with the NIST mission and skillset to a NIST scientist directly.