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 researchers contribute to on-going research in the NIST laboratories at PREP Boulder (operating on the Boulder, Colorado site) or PREP Gaithersburg (operating at the Gaithersburg, Maryland and Charleston, South Carolina sites). You are encouraged to visit the laboratory's webpages to learn about the multi-disciplinary nature of the NIST laboratories and laboratory facilities.
PREP operates two distinct sub-programs. The following PREP universities were selected based on the criteria mentioned in the Notice of Funding Opportunity .
Colorado School of Mines
University of Colorado Boulder
University of Colorado Denver
JUMBO Consortium (Johns Hopkins University, Morgan State University, and State University of New York Binghamton)
University of the District of Columbia
University of Maryland College Park
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.
Following are the categories of researchers that can be appointed by the PREP Universities:
Master’s Degree Holders