The MEP-Assisted Technology and Technical Resource (MATTR) service offers clients of MEP Centers, small and medium-sized manufacturers (SMMs), direct access to wide-ranging, world-class technical expertise available at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) research laboratories and user facilities. A partner to the U.S. manufacturing sector for more than a century, NIST has a proven track record of collaboration with existing manufacturers and aspiring startups. Since 2016, MATTR has successfully connected NIST technical experts with numerous MEP client manufacturing companies around the U.S. for meaningful technical assistance.
Upon receipt of a MATTR request, NIST MEP makes an appropriate connection between the NIST labs and the MEP Center client. NIST lab staff typically begin by sharing technical expertise relating to the manufacturer’s issues, essentially as a professional courtesy that MATTR facilitates. No funding is exchanged during these initial interactions. Read more about the successes.
MATTR interactions leading to more extensive engagements between NIST lab staff and MEP Center clients can involve the execution of a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) between the MEP Center’s manufacturing client requesting assistance, the participating NIST lab(s), NIST MEP and when appropriate, the participating MEP Center. NIST MEP can cover the costs for NIST lab staff participating in the CRADA for activities occurring at NIST, potentially up to $50,000. These activities can include more extensive NIST staff consultation with a company, along with NIST services such as special measurements, special tests and NIST user facility access.
Although not every technical problem submitted by MEP Centers on behalf of their SMM clients has a solution at NIST, the MATTR staff make every effort to find NIST lab expertise appropriate to the company’s needs. When the solution is not found at NIST, the MATTR service tries to provide the SMM with guidance on where they might find useful non-NIST solutions.