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NIST Report on U.S. Innovation Tags Measurement Challenges

The USMS assessment will focus first on semiconductors, autos, and software

Published: Wednesday, March 14, 2007 - 22:00


(National Institute of Standards and Technology, Washington, D.C.) -- A new report from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), An Assessment of the United States Measurement System: Addressing Measurement Barriers to Accelerate Innovation, details results of the agency’s first-ever assessment of the capacity of the nation’s measurement infrastructure—a large, diverse collection of private and public-sector organizations—to sustain U.S. innovation at a world-leading pace.

Innovation is vital to the long-term health of the U.S. economy: the better we do in conceiving, developing and applying new technology, the brighter our nation’s future. Innovation has helped the United States sustain the world’s most productive workforce, raise our standard of living and open new avenues of opportunity that inspire a continuing quest to discover, invent and be first to market with new products and services.

More than 1,000 people from industry, academia and government contributed to the wide-ranging NIST assessment of the state of the nation’s measurement system and its impact on innovation. The result is a snapshot appraisal of measurement needs across 11 industrial sectors and technology areas, from materials to software and from building and construction to nanotechnology. Altogether, more than 700 measurement-related barriers to innovation were identified and evaluated.

Measurement challenges distilled in the report were identified in 15 specially convened workshops, reviews of more than 160 technology “roadmaps” produced by private and public sector organizations, and interviews. Examples include the need for versatile, high-accuracy methods to measure the three-dimensional geometry of manufactured products and the need for tools for measuring the properties of nanodevices and materials.

For its part, the report says, NIST will use this assessment to focus its own work in support of U.S. innovation and competitiveness. The report’s results and findings, along with input gathered in follow-up activities, will inform NIST’s strategic planning decisions. NIST also plans to work with other organizations in both the private and public sectors to raise awareness of the important role that advances in measurement science and technology play in boosting innovation.

An Assessment of the United States Measurement System: Addressing Measurement Barriers to Accelerate Innovation is available on the NIST Web site at: http://usms.nist.gov/.


About The Author

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Founded in 1901, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is a nonregulatory federal agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce. Headquartered in Gaithersburg, Maryland, NIST’s mission is to promote U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards, and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life.