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NIST Awards Funding to Advance Standards Education

Carnegie Mellon University building
Credit: ©Jiuguang Wang

The U.S. Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has awarded seven grants totaling more than $490,000 to universities in five states to advance standards education. Under the Standards Services Curricula Development Cooperative Agreement Program, recipients will work with NIST to integrate instruction related to standards and standardization into undergraduate and graduate curriculum at U.S. colleges and universities.

Standards provide industries and innovators with a common language that facilitates trade, simplifies transactions and enables people to work together toward greater common goals that cut across disciplines and borders. NIST supports the development of standards by identifying areas where they are needed, convening stakeholders and providing technical and scientific guidance and expertise to help stakeholder groups reach a consensus. These grants help to promote U.S. leadership in standards development.

"The curriculum program has grown significantly since it was introduced in 2012, which demonstrates the growing appreciation for the value of standards education," said Warren Merkel, chief of standards services at NIST. "Students in many fields, and in turn industry and the global economy, benefit from standards education. We plan to continue to focus efforts on integrating standards into curriculum and investing in the next generation of leaders in the standards community."

The Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 recipients are:

Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, Penn., $60,000)
To develop new online and traditional course materials related to environmental performance standards with a specific focus on ISO 14040, a life-cycle assessment standard designed to highlight the environmental impact of a product throughout its lifespan and areas for improvement in its production and use.

Jackson State University (Jackson, Miss., $75,000)
To design, develop and deliver a course in telecommunication standards and standardization processes for senior undergraduate and graduate students. The course will be offered to electrical engineering, computer engineering and computer science students, as well as students in the emerging multidisciplinary field of telecommunications engineering.

Michigan State University (East Lansing, Mich., $74,997)
To develop and test course materials for standards education in courses required for all undergraduate students in the arts and humanities, social sciences and general sciences. These course materials will place emphasis on the way standards are developed based on a combination of science, technologies, market influences, societal history and politics.

University of Hartford (West Hartford, Conn., $66,492)
To develop case studies in product design to introduce documentary and measurement standards and standardization into several course modules in the mechanical engineering curriculum.

University of Houston (Houston, Texas, $74,887)
To design, develop and implement an online course in standards and biotechnology in collaboration with industry, academic and government partners that will serve as a foundation for the standards curriculum in the university's biotechnology program.

University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, Penn., $74,314)
To develop and pilot five course modules on legal issues related to codes and standards that can be integrated into common and specialty law school courses such as property law, administrative law, environmental law, real estate law and intellectual property law, and including teaching materials that can be used by instructors with little or no prior knowledge in codes and standards.

University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, Penn., $66,694)
To develop and pilot two in-depth, multimedia, and complementary public policy case studies on codes and standards to educate future lawyers and policymakers on the legal and administrative issues that surround the development, adoption and enforcement of codes and standards, including extensive teaching materials for instructors.

The announcement of the FY 2016 program is expected to be made in early 2016. Information on education grants awarded in FY 2012, FY 2013 and FY 2014 may be found on the NIST Standards Coordination Office webpages.

As a non-regulatory agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, NIST promotes U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life. To learn more about NIST, visit www.nist.gov.

Released October 6, 2015, Updated July 30, 2018