Scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have mapped out a plan for the NIST Material Measurement Laboratory, the unit responsible for the measurement science and technology needed to support the nation’s research and business sectors based in the materials, chemical and biological sciences.
The plan places emphasis on research support in areas including engineered biotechnology, biotherapeutics and environmental chemistry; leveraging massive datasets to accelerate development of new products; and work in advanced materials development and advanced manufacturing techniques such as additive manufacturing.
The newly released 5-year strategic plan for NIST’s Material Measurement Laboratory, says laboratory director Laurie Locascio, reflects the realities of today’s research frontiers in chemistry, biology and materials science.
“In both medicine and manufacturing, for example,” Locascio says, “we’re seeing a growing importance in biologically derived materials such as custom designed proteins. Existing measurement technologies are inadequate for properly characterizing these materials or reliably controlling their manufacture.
“Or consider the entire Materials Genome Initiative. The old trial-and-error methods for developing new materials for industry are giving way to a more rational, more efficient materials-by-design approach. But that depends critically on having good, reliable data and well-tested models.”
The plan outlines a broad research agenda for measurement science in biology, chemistry and materials science, and new initiatives for NIST’s widely used standard reference materials and standard data products, as well as organizational goals for internal management and strategic partnering.
The document is principally aimed at the laboratory’s research peers and stakeholders. While it discusses major research and management goals in detail, it does not discuss budget issues.