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U.S. Celebration of World Standards Day

Good evening and thank you, Joe, for that kind introduction. I am grateful to ANSI, for your close partnership with NIST, and for ANSI’s leadership roles in the private sector’s standardization efforts. These are public-private partnerships that work remarkably well. President Joe Bhatia, thank you for being a real partner and leader, and also for serving as co-chair this evening. 

It is wonderful to be able to celebrate World Standards Day together with all of you! Standardization plays an essential role in eliminating global barriers to trade, enabling a foundation of trust for new technologies, and supporting innovation.  

I would also like to add my congratulations to Dr. Austin Freeman of BP, this year’s winner of the Ronald H. Brown Standards Leadership Award. Dr. Freeman, with your more than 20 years of leadership in petroleum industry standards development, your leadership with API and your tireless efforts in the standards community, and your extensive work in international standardization, you are truly deserving of this award. Hearty congratulations!

I would also like to recognize NIST’s own Casandra Robinson for taking first place in the SES paper competition.  Congratulations!

The American Petroleum Institute (API) has served as the administrating organization for World Standards Day this year. Our thanks to Debra Phillips and all the API staff involved in that effort.

Finally, would the World Standards Day Committee please stand so that we can acknowledge and applaud all of your hard work to make this event a success? 

At NIST, we like to say that standards are our middle name. NIST supports standards development across an incredible range of topics from technologies in well-established sectors to emerging technology fields. 

More than 440 NIST staff participate formally in over 1,750 standards activities in more than 112 different organizations — and they have the support of leading experts across NIST’s entire science and technology organization. But something that’s not as well appreciated is the important role standards development plays in technology transfer and innovation, coming from publicly funded research.

Our World Standards Day theme this year is about building connections.  And standards activities and technology transfer are both essential ways that federal labs like NIST find common ground with industry. We also have common ground with standards organizations and metrology institutes and conformity assessment and accreditation bodies globally.  

I recently was on visits across Asia, and met with friends of NIST at KRISS — the Korea Research Institute of Standards and Science. I really like their tag line: “Better Standards, Better Life.” That says it well, indeed.    

Earlier this year, NIST released its green paper on “Unleashing American Innovation.” The national ROI Initiative has led a comprehensive study of how to enhance the transition of federally funded inventions from the laboratory to the marketplace. 

The study’s report included a series of key findings — and particularly relevant to our celebration tonight is how it confirms the importance of professional interactions between people from federal institutes, academia and industry that increase engagement on emerging technology topics. 

Recommendations from industry and stakeholder groups also called for new incentives in the form of redefining the U.S. R&D tax credit to include innovation-focused investments, high impact strategic research, and standardization. The Department of Commerce and the White House have taken note of this interest to incentivize private sector investment, and we look forward to working with ANSI and industry, with standards groups and government leaders, to consider this important additional opportunity to fuel America’s innovation engine. 

Standards development enables new, emerging technologies for interoperability and security, with performance validation. We are working on the future tools and standards for artificial intelligence and post-quantum cryptography, for biological drugs and diagnostics, for smart homes and buildings and smart cities, the smarter power grid, advanced communications. For space commerce, and the internet of everything.

Standards committees, workshops and conferences are an ideal setting not only for building bridges between government, academic and industry sectors, but also for creating the multi-stakeholder dialogue needed to make available standards-essential patents, and for the technology transfer and fair licensing practice that benefits the ecosystem of innovation.  

And, as we all know, engaging in the standards process over time creates understanding and trust between people and the organizations they represent.  It allows them to build reputations for being trustworthy and fair-minded in working toward consensus and a common good.  

The journey of standardization is a journey of relationship development and mutual respect, and it provides us many opportunities to build valued friendships that last a lifetime.

For all of these reasons, the efforts of everyone here celebrating with us tonight are so important. Standards work is difficult. It takes technical skill, accurate data, patience, strong communications, and good negotiations. It takes a commitment to achieving results to meet the needs of many stakeholders. 

Standards and the connections we make do change the world for the better — and it is the people behind these standards that make that happen. So, thank you, each one of you, each organization, each company, each standards organization, for all that you do. My NIST colleagues and I look forward to continuing our work with you. 

The standards we create together will not only build valuable federal, academic and industry connections, but will also foster technology transfer and the innovations that will shape our economic future for many years to come. Better standards, better life! Absolutely! Thank you all so very much!  

Created November 7, 2019