Founded in 1901, the National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST)19 is a non-regulatory federal agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce. NIST's mission is to promote 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 carries out its mission in four cooperative programs:

  • The NIST Laboratories, conducting research that advances the nation's technology infrastructure and is needed by U.S. industry to continually improve products and services.
  • The Baldrige Performance Excellence Program, which promotes performance excellence among U.S. manufacturers, service companies, educational institutions, health care providers, and nonprofit organizations; conducts outreach programs and manages the annual Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, which recognizes performance excellence and quality achievement.
  • The Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership, a nationwide network of local centers offering technical and business assistance to smaller manufacturers.
  • The Technology Innovation Program, which provides cost-shared awards to industry, universities, and consortia for research on potentially revolutionary technologies that address critical national and societal needs. Between 1990 and 2007, NIST also managed the Advanced Technology Program.

NIST employs about 2,900 scientists, engineers, technicians, and support and administrative personnel. ...

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