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 labs 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 start-ups.
MATTR has been piloting operations since 2016, successfully connecting NIST Lab technical experts with MEP client manufacturing companies around the U.S. on numerous occasions to provide meaningful technical assistance. Currently MATTR operates in an informal mode, in which NIST staff share technical expertise relating to manufacturer issues, essentially as a professional courtesy that MATTR facilitates. No funding is exchanged in the current mode of MATTR operation.
NIST MEP is in the process of expanding MATTR to allow more extensive engagements among NIST Lab staff and MEP Center clients. These engagements would involve the execution of a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) between an MEP Center, its manufacturing client requesting assistance, NIST, and NIST MEP. NIST MEP would cover the costs associated with 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 NIST services such as special measurements, special tests, and NIST user facility access.
Though 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 submission.