NIST measures its worth with assessment project


On Jan. 19, a mix of industrial, government and academic researchers and officials gathered on the campus of Rice University in Houston to discuss one of the stumbling blocks facing nanobiotechnology. The participants joined forces at the one-day workshop to identify gaps in the nation’s measurement system that impede innovation, and to suggest potential solutions.

The National Institute for Standards and Technology organized the workshop as part of a nationwide assessment. NIST was on a mission to address unmet or emerging needs for new or better tools and services that could give the United States a competitive edge. As part of the Department of Commerce, NIST is expected to drive technological innovation and economic growth in the nation.

“We hope this will serve as a catalyst for action,” said James Whetstone, chief of NIST’s Process Measurement Division, as he encouraged participants to help the agency prioritize key innovations and pinpoint barriers.

NIST has overseen about a dozen workshops focusing on topics like nanotechnology, photonics and biotechnology - all broad-based technologies that could create significant economic gains and contribute to national needs. Fact-gathering workshops will continue into at least March. NIST will compile its findings and produce a report by mid-June.
- Candace Stuart