An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS

Fiscal Year 1993

Board on Assessment of NIST Programs

Commission on Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Applications

National Research Council

National Academy Press
Washington, D.C.1994



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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1993 An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS Fiscal Year 1993 Board on Assessment of NIST Programs Commission on Physical Sciences, Mathematics, and Applications National Research Council National Academy Press Washington, D.C.1994

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1993 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are chosen from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The Board and Panel members responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Robert M. White is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce Alberts and Dr. Robert M. White are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council. Support for this project was provided by Contract 50SBNB1C6510 between the National Academy of Sciences and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Copyright 1994 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Copies available from: Board on Assessment of NIST Programs National Research Council 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20418 Printed in the United States of America

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1993 BOARD ON ASSESSMENT OF NIST PROGRAMS WILMER R. BOTTOMS, Patricof and Co., Chairman HAROLD K. FORSEN, Bechtel Corporation PHILIP H. FRANCIS, Square D Company JEANETTE G. GRASSELLI, Ohio University FREDERICK R. HUME, Keithley Instruments ERNEST S. KUH, University of California at Berkeley JULIA R. WEERTMAN, Northwestern University Ex Officio Members ARTHUR E. BERGLES, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute JAMES B. COMLY, General Electric Corporate Research and Development BERNARD H. KEAR, Rutgers University GARY C. McDONALD, General Motors NAO Research and Development Center JOHN P. O'CONNELL, University of Virginia RALPH Z. ROSKIES, University of Pittsburgh JOHN F. SHEERAN, The Boeing Company GREGORY E. STILLMAN, University of Illinois SAMUEL WERNER, University of Missouri BARRY G. WILLIS, Hewlett-Packard Company MICHAEL J. WOZNY, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Liaison Members SYLVIA T. CEYER, Massachusetts Institute of Technology ROBERT J. HERMANN, United Technologies Corporation A. RICHARD SEEBASS III, University of Colorado CHARLES P. SLICHTER, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Board Staff HOWARD E. SORROWS, Director DOROTHY ZOLANDZ, Program Officer BARBARA JONES, Administrative Assistant

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1993 COMMISSION ON PHYSICAL SCIENCES, MATHEMATICS, AND APPLICATIONS RICHARD N. ZARE, Stanford University, Chairman RICHARD S. NICHOLSON, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Vice Chairman STEPHEN L. ADLER, Institute for Advanced Study JOHN A. ARMSTRONG, IBM Corporation (retired) SYLVIA T. CEYER, Massachusetts Institute of Technology AVNER FRIEDMAN, University of Minnesota SUSAN L. GRAHAM, University of California at Berkeley ROBERT J. HERMANN, United Technologies Corporation HANS MARK, University of Texas at Austin CLAIRE E. MAX, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory CHRISTOPHER F. McKEE, University of California at Berkeley JAMES W. MITCHELL, AT&T Bell Laboratories JEROME SACKS, National Institute of Statistical Sciences A. RICHARD SEEBASS III, University of Colorado LEON T. SILVER, California Institute of Technology CHARLES P. SLICHTER, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ALVIN W. TRIVELPIECE, Oak Ridge National Laboratory NORMAN METZGER, Executive Director

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1993 Preface Every year since 1988, when the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) was formed to expand the functions of the National Bureau of Standards, the Board on Assessment of NIST Programs (the Board) and its panels have witnessed a cascade of significant changes in NIST's management, organization, strategies, and programs. Recent events signal additional major changes for NIST: (1) In a speech before the California Council for International Trade, March 26, 1993, Secretary of Commerce Ronald Brown stated that “NIST is a linchpin of the Clinton technology policy.” (2) The incoming administration appointed a new NIST director with strong credentials for collaborating with U.S. industry in the development of technology, submitted a 5-year spending projection to Congress that would double the resources for NIST's intramural programs (the programs that this Board assesses) within the next 4 years, would significantly increase (to $750 million annually) the funding for NIST's extramural programs, and would provide $540 million over 10 years for refurbishing NIST's facilities. (3) On October 7, 1993, Senator John D. Rockefeller IV, in remarks before the council of the National Academy of Engineering, stated that “. . . the administration and Congress agree that it is time to boost spending significantly for the government's principal civilian technology agency--the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Senate Bill 4, the National Competitiveness Act, is our main vehicle for strengthening and expanding NIST programs that focus on the critical needs of American industry. . . .” It seems clear to the Board that NIST is slated to be at the forefront of a shift in U.S. technology policy toward an increased emphasis on capturing the benefits from advances in science and technology, in contrast to simply creating more science and technology. This 34th annual assessment of the intramural programs of the National Institute of Standards and Technology focuses on the technical merit and relevance of NIST's laboratory programs in the context of NIST 's mission as authorized in the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988. In recognition of the national importance of NIST's rapidly evolving role and programs, the Board and its panels spent more time and generated longer reports than usual in conducting the fiscal year 1993 assessment of NIST's intramural programs. Board members focused on NIST-wide issues and on assessing NIST's responses to the Board's fiscal year 1992 recommendations. The panels advised the Board on issues within the laboratories and assessed the performance of NIST's laboratories. Part I of this report, an overview, deals with seven NIST-wide issues identified as particularly critical in the management of NIST's in-house research programs during the current expansion of its outreach and extramural contract programs. The overriding

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1993 concern is how NIST can best preserve and upgrade its intramural programs while enthusiastically implementing its major extramural contract initiatives. In addition, the Board comments on two of nine selected initiatives that NIST should adopt or accelerate because of national need and NIST's unique combination of mission and interdisciplinary skills, and it reviews briefly NIST's responses to recommendations made by the Board in its fiscal year 1992 assessment. Part II summarizes an assessment of the performance of NIST's eight major laboratories and NIST's Reactor Radiation Division, which includes the national Cold Neutron Research Facility. Appendix A describes NIST's statutory functions, Appendix B depicts NIST's organizational structure, and Appendix C states NIST's work assignment to the Board on Assessment of NIST Programs. Appendix D defines and elaborates on elements of three of the NIST-wide issues addressed in Part I of the report. This report conveys the consensus of approximately 150 scientists and engineers appointed by the National Research Council (NRC) predominantly from industry and academe to eight assessment panels and a subpanel. The panels mirror NIST's organization (see Figure B.1, Appendix B). Findings and recommendations are based on program reviews conducted during annual 2- or 3-day site visits to NIST' s laboratories, visits by panelists to their assigned program areas prior to each panel's site visit, and a 3-day annual Board meeting. On behalf of the Board and its various panels, I express appreciation to NIST's director, laboratory directors, program managers, and staff for their thorough preparation for the program reviews and to the NRC for invaluable support and guidance. Wilmer R. Bottoms, Chairman Board on Assessment of NIST Programs