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NIST Professional Research Experience Program (PREP)

NIST’s Professional Research and Experience Program (PREP) provides valuable laboratory experience and financial assistance to researchers at various stages of their studies and careers. This official collaboration between participating universities and NIST aims to provide research opportunities to students and graduates. 

Researchers from various academic departments apply for PREP appointments. In return, NIST researchers have access to students, recent grads, postdocs, senior researchers, and faculty who bring new ideas and experiences that can strengthen the agency’s research programs. 

Upcoming deadlines:

Check with participating colleges and universities for upcoming PREP deadlines. 

The purpose of this program is to:

  • Develop and train a diverse, world-class pool of scientists and engineers to support NIST's mission in measurement science and standards research.
  • Increase the recruitment, retention and graduation rates of undergraduate and graduate students pursuing STEM degrees.
  • Recruit and retain historically marginalized groups (women, minorities, and persons with disabilities) in STEM.
  • Assure continued growth and progress of a highly skilled STEM workforce in the U.S.

Colleges and Universities 

If your accredited institution offers a two-year or four-year degree in academic science, technology, engineering, or mathematics, you can apply to establish and manage a research relationship with NIST labs in Boulder, Colorado, Gaithersburg, Maryland, or Charleston, South Carolina. PREP is a five-year cooperative agreement. Calls for application to the next award will be posted in March 2027.

See our Notice of Funding Opportunity for more information. 

Participating PREP Universities

PREP Boulder

PREP Gaithersburg 

Prospective Researchers 

When NIST has an opportunity and funding for a researcher, we partner with PREP university to advertise and recruit for those roles. PREP researchers must be affiliated with a participating university. 


PREP is open to U.S. citizens and foreign nationals with the appropriate visa to work at NIST.

If you are interested in a PREP opportunity you can apply through an advertised vacancy. 

Apply to PREP Researcher Opportunities 

Visit the websites below to view available PREP openings. 

Gaithersburg Campus:

Boulder Campus

Stories from PREP Students 

Learn More


Created May 30, 2017, Updated February 14, 2024