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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1997
the time of new project planning, and evaluating ongoing programs annually against the same criteria; and
Closing the loop of the planning execution process by evaluating the results, outcomes, and impacts of previous programs for feedback into new project planning.
The current facilities at NIST are inadequate to its mission in many cases and increasingly compromise the effectiveness of laboratory personnel and the cost-effectiveness of programs.
The NIST laboratories' programmatic focus on development of new metrology expertise to anticipate needs of emerging technologies is highly appropriate and laudable.
The overall quality of the laboratories' technical programs is high, with many programs defining the cutting edge in the field.
Several NIST laboratories have excellent planning practices suitable for use as best planning practices across the NIST laboratories. These plans include assessment of customer needs, potential impact of each program, and metrics to measure program success.
Human resources plans for the laboratories are insufficient, lacking enough mechanisms for recruitment and retention in highly competitive markets, and also lacking training programs for some areas of expertise not readily available from academia or industry.
NIST efforts to develop economic measures of program success are laudable. Improved metrics for the economic impact of research programs are still needed to assist in program planning and justification.
In some critical areas, NIST has not taken on the necessary leadership role in international standards activities.
NIST's use of the World Wide Web to disseminate information and products is laudable and will almost surely increase the impact of its work. NIST could improve the efficiency of information searches on its Web site and serve as a model for data dissemination on the Internet.
NIST may not be achieving maximum efficiency in delivery of some support services, such as computer network capabilities.