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NIST MEP Centers to Receive CARES Act Funding for Pandemic Response

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GAITHERSBURG, Md. — The Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has launched the application process for $50 million in grants to help manufacturers respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Using funds authorized by the CARES Act signed by President Trump last month, NIST will issue awards to Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) centers in all 50 states and Puerto Rico for COVID-19-related projects.

“These grants are part of President Trump’s’ whole-of-America effort to combat COVID-19 and help America’s businesses recover,” said Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. “Small- and medium-sized manufacturers are among the leaders of the swift and strong comeback from this unprecedented health challenge, and the Department of Commerce is doing our part to support their efforts.”

“For more than 30 years, NIST MEP has supported U.S. manufacturing and built a national network that can immediately reach over a third of U.S. manufacturers,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director Walter G. Copan. “The MEP centers have the expertise to help client companies make the products needed to fight this pandemic, and to help manufacturers across the supply chain to weather this storm.”

Through a formal Request for Applications, NIST MEP centers may apply for a portion of nearly $50 million allocated to support new projects, which will not require matching nonfederal funds. Successful applications will allow MEP centers to help manufacturers recover from workforce and supply chain interruptions; apply for private insurance claims and disaster loans from the Small Business Administration; and access resources at the federal, state and local level. 

MEP centers may also use the funds to assess the operating needs of manufacturers, scout for manufacturers that can produce critically needed medical equipment and supplies, and organize peer-to-peer manufacturing councils.

The amount of individual center funding is determined by the number of manufacturers in their market. Centers will receive a link to a page where they can submit their applications, which will be accepted on a rolling basis. The opportunity will remain open until funding is no longer available or when NIST determines it is no longer required. NIST MEP will host information webinars for MEP center staff on Tuesday, April 14, and Wednesday, April 15, 2020, to explain the application process and answer questions.

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. NIST is a nonregulatory agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce. To learn more about NIST, visit

Released April 13, 2020, Updated March 4, 2021