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Lab to Market: When One Plus One Equals Three

Guest blog post by Paul R. Zielinski, MS, MBA, Director, Technology Partnerships Office, National Institute of Standards and Technology & Chair, Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer

A NIST project manager and guest researcher discuss innovative optical methods for characterizing biological materials.
NIST scientists collaborate on research projects with companies and university partners in many different fields. Shown above, a NIST project manager and guest researcher discuss innovative optical methods for characterizing biological materials.
Credit: ©Robert Rathe 

When you want a plant to grow, you provide water, light, and fertilizer. When you want an economy to grow you provide capital, labor, and innovation.

In today's global markets, companies that don't innovate generally don't survive for long. To keep your current customers and earn new ones, you must continually look for ways to be faster, cheaper, better . . . or all three. 

At the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) we specialize in helping industry find those "Wow!" innovation ideas that create jobs and raise everyone's standard of living.

We do this in lots of ways under an approach we call lab to market. We develop new measurement tools and standards to make sure new products can be measured fairly against established ones. We advance basic science to enable new technologies. And we work collaboratively with industry researchers in our laboratories to help them bring new research tools and knowledge back to their companies to be commercialized into new products.

We also have another tool for fueling innovation at small businesses, seed money. Commerce is one of 11 agencies with extramural research and development funding that makes awards to small businesses through the Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR) to perform research supporting the agency's mission. Awards can also be made to businesses to commercialize innovations, including innovations already developed by federal research and development programs.

Read full Department of Commerce blog post >>

Released March 13, 2015, Updated January 23, 2023