Enriching college curricula to raise awareness of the role of standards and standardization in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), and law, public policy, business, and other related or multi-disciplinary fields.
The Notice of Federal Funding Opportunity (NOFO) announcing the FY22 Program was released on April 14; the deadline for proposals was June 14, 2022. NIST anticipates the FY23 program announcement will be published in the first quarter of calendar year 2023, subject to the availability of funding. Eligible applicants may apply for awards of up to $100,000 to integrate standards education into undergraduate or graduate-level courses. Funding is awarded in an open, competitive process.
The Standards Coordination Office (SCO) Standards Services introduced the “Education Challenge Grants” program in Fiscal Year (FY) 2012. The program began with a budget of $150,000; six small grants were awarded to launch the program, supporting the development of new learning resources and course modules integrating standards into the formal curriculum in business and engineering programs. The following year, the program was changed from a grant program to a cooperative agreement program, allowing SCO to work more closely with award recipients and to provide greater support to strengthen education and learning about standards and standardization.
The number of awards given fluctuates each year based on various factors such as the number of proposals received and funding available. The evaluation criteria have evolved as NIST continues to improve the program each year, but the essential goal has remained the same—support for standards education at US colleges and universities.
NIST Awards Funding to Five Universities to Advance Standards Education
NIST has made five awards totaling nearly $500,000 to support standards education in undergraduate and graduate level curricula. The disciplines supported by this year’s awards include aerospace; robotics; sustainability, infrastructure improvement and resilience; nanomaterials engineering; and building information modeling.
Applicants are evaluated on their ability to meet criteria in four major categories:
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