The mission of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) enables NIST to provide broad support for the advancement of U.S. manufacturing. Research and services supporting manufacturing are intended to be an important component in all of the NIST laboratories. Moreover, since manufacturing is a major part of the U.S. economy, the growth or loss of U.S. manufacturing jobs is a very important issue. Clearly, the successful execution of NIST's programs supporting manufacturing will have a significant impact on manufacturing jobs in the United States. With the multidisciplinary, multisector, and crosscutting nature of manufacturing, the Director of NIST requested that the National Research Council (NRC) assess the manufacturing-related programs at NIST in 2012.
Accordingly, a panel of experts was convened by the National Research Council to perform the assessment. The Panel on review of the Manufacturing-Related Programs at the national Institute of Standards and Technology visited the NIST campus in Gaithersburg, Maryland, on March 26-28, 2012. A Review of the Manufacturing-related Programs at the National Institute of Standards and Technology: Fiscal Year 2012 contains the results of the panel's assessment.
The assessment considered manufacturing research at NIST broadly, with emphasis on the specific advanced manufacturing areas: Nanomanufacturing (including Flexible Electronics); Smart Manufacturing (including Robotics); and Next-Generation Materials Measurements, Modeling, and Simulation. The area of Biomanufacturing also reviewed as a subset of the Nanomanufacturing review. As is to be expected for programs covering such wide scope, the boundaries among these broad areas are not rigid and there is some overlap among them. On the basis of its assessment, the panel formed the observations and recommendations which are detailed in this report.