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NIST-wide Issues--Conclusions and Recommendations

NIST-wide issues encompass matters of significant concern to most if not all of NIST's eight major laboratories. Selected for review in early 1993 in consultation with NIST's former director, the seven issues addressed below include strategic planning, data programs, research balance, the impact of extramural programs on intramural programs, collaboration with industry, interlaboratory teams, and total quality management. The conclusions and recommendations presented for each issue summarize the consensus of members of the Board on Assessment of NIST Programs (the Board) and of the eight panel chairs as developed during the Board's annual meeting in July 1993. Details of the relevance of NIST-wide issues to the intramural programs of NIST's major laboratories are given in Part II of this report.

STRATEGIC PLANNING
Issues

Are NIST strategies keeping abreast of NIST's changing role? Are there weaknesses in NIST's strategic planning? If so, what steps should NIST take to strengthen its strategic planning?

Discussion

In its fiscal year 1992 assessment (An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Programs: Fiscal Year 1992, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 19931), the Board reported that NIST's strategic planning was well launched but that additional input from industry and improved metrics for project definition, tracking, and evaluation were needed. Since the 1992 assessment, the incoming Clinton administration has made NIST a centerpiece of its civilian technology program, proposing to double the amount of research and development in NIST's laboratories by 1998 and to increase NIST's $86 million annual extramural program by $752 million.

Realizing that national events had outstripped NIST's strategic planning to date, NIST's incoming director had already scheduled a planning retreat for summer 1993 to bring NIST-level strategies in line with the new administration 's vision and expectations, and NIST's statutory visiting committee on Advanced Technology (VCAT) had developed the “Framework for Operating Unit Planning” (see p. 5, Figure 2, “A Strategic Planning Framework,”

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Referred to throughout this report as the fiscal year 1992 assessment.



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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1993 1 NIST-wide Issues--Conclusions and Recommendations NIST-wide issues encompass matters of significant concern to most if not all of NIST's eight major laboratories. Selected for review in early 1993 in consultation with NIST's former director, the seven issues addressed below include strategic planning, data programs, research balance, the impact of extramural programs on intramural programs, collaboration with industry, interlaboratory teams, and total quality management. The conclusions and recommendations presented for each issue summarize the consensus of members of the Board on Assessment of NIST Programs (the Board) and of the eight panel chairs as developed during the Board's annual meeting in July 1993. Details of the relevance of NIST-wide issues to the intramural programs of NIST's major laboratories are given in Part II of this report. STRATEGIC PLANNING Issues Are NIST strategies keeping abreast of NIST's changing role? Are there weaknesses in NIST's strategic planning? If so, what steps should NIST take to strengthen its strategic planning? Discussion In its fiscal year 1992 assessment (An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Programs: Fiscal Year 1992, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 19931), the Board reported that NIST's strategic planning was well launched but that additional input from industry and improved metrics for project definition, tracking, and evaluation were needed. Since the 1992 assessment, the incoming Clinton administration has made NIST a centerpiece of its civilian technology program, proposing to double the amount of research and development in NIST's laboratories by 1998 and to increase NIST's $86 million annual extramural program by $752 million. Realizing that national events had outstripped NIST's strategic planning to date, NIST's incoming director had already scheduled a planning retreat for summer 1993 to bring NIST-level strategies in line with the new administration 's vision and expectations, and NIST's statutory visiting committee on Advanced Technology (VCAT) had developed the “Framework for Operating Unit Planning” (see p. 5, Figure 2, “A Strategic Planning Framework,” 1   Referred to throughout this report as the fiscal year 1992 assessment.

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1993 VCAT Annual Report 1993, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, Maryland, January 1994). Because the NIST-level strategic planning was properly launched, the Board focused on recommendations for improving strategic planning within the major laboratories. Recommendations Major laboratory strategic planning should mirror the expectations of the new administration and the new NIST director. Strategic planning should be integrated across laboratory boundaries. Strategic planning should (1) anticipate the need for redirection and/or reductions in some programs, (2) identify tactics for overcoming barriers to achieving specified goals and objectives, (3) provide metrics for developing priorities, managing projects, and assessing impact, and finally (4) be a continuous process. Laboratories should plan for the kind of laboratories they would like to be in 5 to 10 years rather than focus on current activities, expertise, and levels of resources. Laboratories should adopt the “Framework for Operating Unit Planning” recommended by VCAT for strategic planning. Laboratories should invite representative customers to collaborate in situation analysis, development of a strategic vision, and identification of external drivers (scientific, technical, and industrial trends) that create demand for NIST's products and services. Laboratories should take advantage of changes in national priorities by involving clients, peer organizations, and technology policymakers in the planning process; emphasize competence building in the emerging technologies; and cultivate technical managers eager to be agents for change. DATA PROGRAMS Issues What is the health of NIST's data programs? Are long- and short-term user needs being met? Is the focus right? Is the balance between NIST's data programs and research and other services appropriate? (See Appendix D for a more extensive statement of the issues.) The Standard Reference Data Program (SRDP) coordinates and sponsors retrieval of numerical data generated by research in the physical sciences in laboratories located throughout the world, evaluation of the accuracy of the data and resolution of discrepancies, and dissemination of data evaluations (through the Journal of Physical and Chemical Reference Data, a joint

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1993 publication of the American Chemical Society and the American Physical Society; various other technical society and private-sector publications; and direct sales of electronic databases) to scientists and engineers in industry, academe, government, and other private and public organizations. The evaluated data guide individual scientists and engineers in selecting, designing, and appraising research projects; industry in creating and fabricating products and services; and government in making and implementing national technology-intensive policies. The SRDP sponsors 22 data centers and 12 data projects located within the various NIST laboratories and in university and industrial research centers. SRDP shares with industrial firms, trade associations, technical societies, and other agencies of government the costs of assembly, evaluation, and dissemination of numerical data. Core support, i.e., direct appropriations from Congress for collection and evaluation of research data, has been static at about $3.5 million per year for the past 10 years. Income from sales, i.e., reimbursement for distribution costs, has grown from less than $400,000 in fiscal year 1987 to a projected $2 million in fiscal year 1993. SRDP increased its annual sales significantly by adding modern mechanisms for dissemination, such as diskettes, CD-ROMs, magnetic tapes, and on-line services, and is developing a capacity for intelligent data processing. A profile of sales of individual electronic databases indicates a tilt in customer balance toward industry. Of the 1,400 sales projected for electronic databases in 1993, 47 percent will be sold to industry, 35 percent to academic researchers, 17 percent to other government agencies, and 1 percent to a variety of other customers. The last year for which a full year's record of sales was available was fiscal year 1992. Best-sellers, an indicator of user interest in NIST's data programs, were chemical kinetics, spectroscopic properties of atoms, thermophysical properties of refrigerants and refrigerant mixtures, mass spectroscopy, and structures and properties of materials. Sales of individual electronic databases indicate that they are often more useful than are printed publications. Findings and Conclusions NIST's data programs are a cost-effective channel for certifying and transferring widely used numerical scientific and engineering data. Collection and evaluation of data have stagnated. Managers of NIST's data programs and laboratories are aware of additional national needs for data, but they have chosen to upgrade existing centers rather than free resources for new ventures in data evaluation by deleting lower-priority centers. The SRDP reported that (1) data centers are reviewed formally at 3-year intervals, (2) core support has been static for so long

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1993 that data program managers are not inclined to propose alternate programs and changes in the operation of existing data centers, and (3) annual review of NIST's data programs by outside authorities was discontinued in fiscal year 1988. NIST's major laboratories are deemphasizing data programs. Overdependence on other-agency contracts along with increased emphasis within NIST on collaboration with industry in technology development has diverted laboratory priorities from laboratory data centers. NIST laboratories appear not to emphasize data programs unless they have support from the SRDP, from NIST initiatives, or from external organizations. NIST's data programs are not meeting national needs. According to NIST laboratories and SRDP assessments, NIST is not supplying (1) computerized database systems for research, development, and manufacturing involving polymers, metal-matrix composites, and electronic and other high-technology materials; (2) data for chemical vapor deposition and etching applications; (3) data for controlling industrial hazards, e.g., data on limits of flammability, self-ignition temperatures, and flash conditions; and (4) databases and software for selecting from among evolving high-technology materials and for predicting the physical properties of public infrastructure designed to be constructed with these advanced materials. The SRDP estimates that an additional $3 million per year in core funding would be needed to initiate programs to provide the data services listed above. Thus gaps in needs for high-priority data will not be filled unless SRDP obtains additional resources or NIST 's laboratories develop initiatives that include new or expanded data programs. Recommendations Assemble an ad hoc authoritative committee of data users from industry, government, and academe to appraise the national relevance and performance of the Standard Reference Data Program's current centers and projects, and recommend strategies and priorities for the SRDP. Assess the desirability and feasibility of incorporating data programs as an integral part of all ongoing programs and of NIST's strategies and new initiatives. Examine the role of NIST's data programs in the development of precompetitive technology and in the advancement and application of emerging technologies. RESEARCH BALANCE Issue As stated by NIST in Appendix D, the principal issue is whether “within each laboratory, and in NIST as a whole,” the

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1993 current balance among fundamental research, laboratory-based standards work, and generic research is appropriate (applying the definitions given in Appendix D). Discussion NIST laboratories perform a full spectrum of fundamental research, laboratory-based standards work, and generic technology research. In the opinion of the Board, NIST is currently emphasizing generic technology research. In its fiscal year 1992 assessment, the Board expressed concern (pp. 8-9) that NIST was neglecting fundamental research in the process of implementing its expanded mission, and it listed specific signs of erosion in NIST's fundamental research. The Board argues that (1) NIST's fundamental research leads to advances in metrology, develops in-house competencies and technologies that attract industrial and other-agency collaboration, and contributes an intellectual atmosphere important for recruiting and retaining high-caliber scientists and engineers and that (2) NIST's laboratory-based standards work creates and adapts advances in science and technology to maintain and upgrade NIST' s metrology services, as needed, for the purpose of providing support to U.S. industry, commerce, public health and safety, and the scientific and engineering communities. Findings and Conclusions Research balance varies from laboratory to laboratory and from project to project. NIST's fundamental research, laboratory-based standards work, and generic technology research are not, and should not be, done in isolation. They are synergistically intertwined within laboratories, often being done simultaneously by an individual or group. The balance that is appropriate within a laboratory or project depends on national policies, user needs, and the maturity and sophistication of the relevant technology and industry. Because the appropriate balance varies from laboratory to laboratory and from project to project, the Board addresses the issue of research balance for NIST as a whole, leaving the balance within the laboratories to be addressed by the panels in Part II of this report. Erosion of fundamental research is not NIST-wide. The Boards's concern (expressed in its fiscal year 1992 report) about the erosion of some important areas of fundamental research does not mean that the Board is uncomfortable with NIST's plans for and current programs in fundamental research. The Board was and is concerned that NIST is losing some important technical competencies. The good news is that NIST plans to allocate about 15 percent of its appropriated budget for intramural programs to fundamental research and the development of novel instrumentation

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1993 throughout NIST laboratories. Particularly impressive is the national Cold Neutron Research Facility (CNRF) being brought online to provide scientists and engineers with important research capabilities that do not exist elsewhere in the United States. Associated instrumentation is being developed and commissioned for use within the CNRF that will attract at least 900 non-NIST guest research scientists per year. Also, NIST supports a National Research Council postdoctoral fellowship program that annually brings to NIST laboratories for 2-year periods about 20 fellows who are recent university graduates and who generally do fundamental research that often supports NIST's laboratory-based standards work and in many cases supports NIST's generic technology research. Postdoctoral fellows, selected because of superior scientific credentials that match NIST's in-house research requirements, stimulate NIST's environment for fundamental research. In addition, NIST's Competence Building Program provides selected NIST laboratories with support for up to 5 years for research-intensive projects that enable the laboratories to collaborate with industry in conducting generic technology research and/or mastering advances in science and engineering that can be used to improve laboratory-based standards. Moreover, NIST received congressional authority in 1993 to invest up to 10 percent of the Advanced Technology Program (ATP) budget in research and development in NIST's laboratories that support the ATP. (ATP is operating at a level of $110 million in 1993 and is projected to reach $750 million by 1997.) NIST has mechanisms in place to correct its current tilt toward generic technology research. Although the Board believes that NIST laboratories are currently emphasizing generic technology research at the expense of fundamental research and laboratory-based standards work, it is also convinced by the above mentioned programs and budget projections that NIST understands the need for research balance and has programs in place to correct the current imbalance, particularly if additional resources are appropriated. Recommendations Plan strategically to ensure research. Address the need for balancing fundamental research, laboratory-based standards work, and generic technology research explicitly in NIST- and laboratory-level annual strategic planning and performance appraisal. The rationale and planned level of support for the three types of research should be brought to the attention of the panels and the Board for comment. Follow the recommendations of NIST's Visiting Committee on Advanced Technology (see Appendix B, “Executive Summary of The NIST Competence Building Program,” p. 40, VCAT Annual Report 1992, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, Maryland, January 1993): (1) expand the Competence

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1993 Program to at least 5 percent of the total NIST intramural laboratory budget, and (2) transfer successful competence building projects to base funding when competence funding ends. As recommended by the Board in its fiscal year 1991 assessment (An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Programs: Fiscal Year 1991, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 1992), double the current number (20) of postdoctoral fellows. The 10 percent increase proposed in the budget submission for fiscal year 1994 seems far too modest, considering the Clinton administration's publicized plan to double the funding for NIST's intramural program by 1998. IMPACT OF EXTRAMURAL PROGRAMS ON INTRAMURAL PROGRAMS Issues What has been the impact of the extramural programs on the intramural, laboratory-based programs? How has the added responsibility for designing, administering, and monitoring the extramural programs (the Advanced Technology Program, the State Technology Extension Program, and the Manufacturing Technology Centers) affected the intramural staff? Discussion The Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988 authorized NIST to initiate extramural contract programs in addition to continuing its intramural laboratory-based programs. Performing a critical and unique role in U.S. society, NIST's intramural programs provide the nation's measurement infrastructure and serve as a federal in-house capability for addressing technical problems of national importance. Congressional appropriations for NIST's intramural programs are modest, and consequently, NIST's intramural program staff is spread thin. The impact of both staff and programs is extended through widespread collaboration with industrial research associates, academic guest workers, and peers from other agencies. Findings and Conclusions Concerns about possible negative impacts of NIST's extramural programs on its intramural programs have thus far been unwarranted. The impact of NIST's extramural programs on its intramural programs has been positive to date. Managers of NIST's intramural programs report that their involvement in NIST 's extramural programs has (1) stimulated new research in direct support of precompetitive technology ventures, (2) created

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1993 new and closer collaborations with industry without interfering with existing relations, and (3) shifted laboratory strategies, priorities, and opportunities toward emerging and process metrologies. According to NIST laboratory directors, reviewing proposals for extramural projects has provided program guidance and has often led to industrial contacts for special services and joint research. For example, the Physics Laboratory initiated 11 joint ventures with industry as a result of its involvement in the extramural programs. Also, extramural programs are beginning to provide additional resources for intramural research. Although it was not briefed on intramural projects initiated to date under ATP funding, the Board anticipates that ATP funding, for example, will provide a major boost to intramural research in support of industrial competitiveness. As they expand, the extramural programs will have the potential to dominate the intramural programs. The supply of experienced intramural program managers cannot continue to meet extramural program needs. To date, the extramural programs have been managed by experienced managers selected predominantly from the intramural programs. As the extramural programs grow, additional experienced managers will not be readily available from the intramural programs. Experienced managers are already spread too thin in the intramural programs. Recommendations Manage extramural and intramural programs as complementary tools to take advantage of opportunities for synergism in fulfilling NIST 's statutory assignments. Nourish a single culture within NIST, rather than separate research and contractor cultures. NIST has the unique opportunity to manage an extramural contract program using scientific and engineering input from a competent intramural staff and to rejuvenate its intramural program in the process. Focus collaboration between extramural programs, particularly the Advanced Technology Program, and intramural programs to better ensure significant positive impacts on U.S. competitiveness. At present, strategic planning for the extramural and intramural programs appears to be independent and the collaboration opportunistic. Avoid allowing intramural programs to become overly dependent on extramural programs. Nourish intramural programs with a proven impact on U.S. industry and society as an independent entity; i.e., manage intramural programs so as to prevent their becoming as dependent on the extramural programs as they have become on other-agency contracts. Ensure that the extramural programs not be an excessive drain on the intramural staff.

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1993 Offer career transitions from research to contract management to promising intramural staff, but refrain from converting excellent bench scientists and engineers to inexperienced contract monitors. Provide training and guidance to smooth such transitions. Advise NIST laboratories' counterpart industrial communities about the opportunities afforded by the Advanced Technology Program. COLLABORATION WITH INDUSTRY Issues Does the long-successful modus operandi for collaboration with industry continue to be adequate for NIST's intramural programs? Can NIST's intramural programs improve their collaboration with industry? If so, how? Discussion NIST's intramural programs, originally initiated by Congress in 1901 so that “. . . essential aid could be given to manufacturing, commerce, the makers of scientific apparatus, [and] the scientific work of government, schools, colleges, and universities . . .” (H.R. 1452, “National Standardizing Bureau,” 56th Congress, 1st session, May 14, 1900), have pioneered in collaborating with their clientele to develop and transfer technical products and services. In 1988, the charter to provide the measurement infrastructure needed by the United States and to solve technical problems assigned by Congress and other agencies of government was broadened to also encompass NIST's providing an assist to the competitiveness of U.S. industry. NIST was charged to develop precompetitive technology of interest to industry. Findings Collaboration with industry is pervasive within NIST's laboratories. Each of NIST's eight major laboratories has developed a broad spectrum of ways to collaborate with industry and others:2 2   The sampling below of the laboratories' interactions with industry is intended to be illustrative rather than comprehensive.

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1993 During fiscal year 1992,3 the Materials Science and Engineering Laboratory (MSEL) attracted 521 visiting scientists and engineers who collaborated in research and development with MSEL's 343 scientists, engineers, and technicians. MSEL used workshops involving counterparts from industry and universities to plan program initiatives, transfer technology, and create industrial consortia. Its Cold Neutron Research Facility provides a unique national facility and when completed will attract more than 900 non-NIST research participants annually. The Chemical Science and Technology Laboratory (CSTL) serves more than 2,000 U.S. industrial firms, including the top 10 U.S. chemical research and development companies. During fiscal year 1992, CSTL certified about 2,000 standard reference database units, performed about 1,800 calibrations, and had major collaborative research projects with four industrial consortia, three industrial institutes, and two major industrial firms (IBM Corporation and Ford Motor Company). CSTL participated in 12 major workshops and 22 Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs), assisted with 12 ATP projects, and sponsored staff participation in national and international standards-making committees. CSTL and the University of Maryland operate the Center for Advanced Research in Biotechnology for collaborating with industry. The Building and Fire Research Laboratory (BFRL) attracted 39 industrial research associates and 32 guest researchers for collaboration in its laboratory-based research and development during fiscal year 1992. BFRL sponsored its staff's participation on committees of national and international standards-making bodies and arranged for U.S. leadership in the International Organization for Standardization's standards committees for building performance, concrete, timber, masonry, structural design loads, and building environment design. During fiscal year 1992, BFRL met with leaders in the construction and fire industries to develop strategies for meeting industrial needs and provided technical assistance to NIST's ATP projects for developing precommercial technology. The Computer Systems Laboratory (CSL) collaborates with users, vendors, and producers of computer systems to improve the productivity and reliability of computers in the public and private sectors, the security of computer systems, and U.S. leadership in and penetration of national and international markets. In fiscal year 1992, CSL attracted 24 guest scientists and industrial research associates from 3   Depending on the availability of data, statistics in this section are given for either fiscal year 1992 or fiscal year 1993 as indicated.

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1993 16 different industrial organizations, collaborated in research with 85 industrial firms, and had five CRADAs involving 40 industrial firms. During fiscal year 1993, the Physics Laboratory (PL) attracted 146 guest researchers and collaborated directly with approximately 100 U.S. industrial firms. Eleven of PL's industrial collaborations were with winners of NIST's ATP contracts for developing precommercial technology, and approximately 25 industrial collaborations were generated through CRADAs. Fiscal year 1993 awards to PL staff included citations for building ties with industry. NIST's Electronics and Electrical Engineering Laboratory (EEEL) collaborates closely with industry in EEEL's strategic planning and project selection and in industry-wide planning by trade associations. In fiscal year 1992, EEEL had 81 cooperative projects with U.S. industry, was forming or had in place 8 industrial consortia, attracted 46 industrial research scientists and guest researchers, sponsored over 100 staff memberships in national and international standards-making organizations, certified 55 standard reference material samples, performed more than 4,000 calibrations for 473 customers, conducted 28 short courses, commercialized 7 different products, had 18 active and 15 proposed CRADAs, and reviewed 50 proposals from industry for cost-sharing under NIST's Advanced Technology Program. EEEL's Office of Microelectronics Programs coordinates NIST-wide collaboration with the U.S. microelectronics industry, and several of its staff members are actively involved in national efforts to develop a comprehensive plan for the U.S. semiconductor industry to follow in developing advanced world-competitive devices. The Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory (MEL) has plans for 47 CRADAs, 97 industrial research associates and guest workers, and 60 new measurement methods or standards and intends to develop 4 different standard reference material samples and to carry out 3,900 calibrations and tests during fiscal year 1994. The extent of MEL's collaboration with industry is indicated by instrumentation, fabrication equipment, and computer software valued at more than $12 million and on loan in its laboratory from industrial firms. The Computing and Applied Mathematics Laboratory (CAML) collaborates with U.S. industry indirectly by providing scientists and engineers in other NIST laboratories and their collaborators from industry with methods and tools of modern mathematics, statistics, and scientific computing as well as modern computing, communications, and data management. NIST has the prerequisites for even closer ties with U.S. industry . Among these are the reputation of NIST's staff; NIST's

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1993 promotion of industrial linkages as evidenced by its culture and its large number of industrial research associates, CRADAs, and industrial consortia; its ability to engage in long-term collaborations (e.g., NIST has collaborated with the American Dental Association for more than 60 years) as well as collaborations of opportunity; and its efforts to improve the environment for collaborating with U.S. industry in the commercialization of technology at a fast pace. NIST's next option will be to collaborate in setting up product lines for commercializing precompetitive technology, a step that will require NIST's adoption of industry guidelines for scheduling, cost control, and total quality management. NIST's intramural programs will have additional opportunities to collaborate with industry when the precommercial technology developed under the ATP reaches the commercialization stage and when NIST's partners in industrial consortia and CRADAs begin to move technology now being developed to the product line. INTERLABORATORY TEAMS Issue Given NIST's success in forming interlaboratory teams, and acknowledging the interdisciplinary nature of NIST's budget initiatives and research opportunities such as “green” buildings, mathematics-based product design, and electro-optics applications that could be best approached by interlaboratory teams, why are there not more interlaboratory teams within NIST? Discussion Because modern products and services are increasingly complex and interrelated, programs for enhancing the competitiveness of U.S. industry will be predominantly interdisciplinary. NIST, with its staff working at the forefront of a broad spectrum of scientific and engineering disciplines, is well suited for developing industrially relevant technologies. Although each major NIST laboratory generally maintains the broad interdisciplinary expertise needed to provide the metrological and data services required by its industrial clientele, much of the generic technology research of interest to modern high-technology industry could be better addressed by interlaboratory teams. The success of teams formed by MSEL's Office of Intelligent Processing of Materials and of BFRL's Fire Modeling team are only two examples of the advantages of interlaboratory teams.

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1993 Findings and Conclusions Institutional barriers inhibit formation of interlaboratory teams . For example: Incoming bench scientists and engineers are generally recruited on the basis of academic achievement and performance as individual investigators in a specific discipline. Such recruits tend to prefer to continue to practice in their respective disciplines rather than participate in interlaboratory teams. Managers of NIST intramural programs are expected to be leaders of research and are selected from among NIST's top achievers in the relevant disciplines. Such managers usually lack experience in interlaboratory research and see their professional reputations and ability to lead as dependent on maintaining excellence in their selected discipline. NIST rewards individual performance much more readily than performance as a team member. NIST's allocation of funds gives each NIST laboratory individual financial responsibility for its programs. Each laboratory competes with all other NIST laboratories for NIST appropriations from Congress that cover only a fraction of the needed resources. Laboratories must then depend on resources from other agencies and industry to carry out their mission. Under this mode of funding, laboratories strive to maximize their control and performance in their programs rather than search for ways to invest their scarce resources in interlaboratory research. Recommendations To encourage widespread adoption of interlaboratory research, the Board recommends that NIST: Emphasize interlaboratory research in strategic planning at all organizational levels. Recognize meritorious interlaboratory research proposals when allocating laboratory funding. Manage interdisciplinary initiatives as interlaboratory projects. Feature annual awards for interlaboratory achievements. Make awards through the Competence Building Program for the creation and management of interlaboratory programs.

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An Assessment of the NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF STANDARDS AND TECHNOLOGY PROGRAMS: Fiscal Year 1993 TOTAL QUALITY MANAGEMENT Issue Should NIST laboratories serve as a testbed for applying total quality management to research and development? Findings and Conclusions At the Board's 1993 annual meeting, NIST stated that it plans to adopt total quality management (TQM) in its nonresearch activities and that seven pilot TQM programs have been initiated in such NIST activities as the (Physical) Plant Division, the Office of Personnel and Civil Rights, and the Standard Reference Materials Program. NIST also reported plans to visit selected industrial laboratories experienced in using TQM. During fiscal year 1993 program reviews, the panels observed that most of the senior-level management of NIST's laboratories were reasonably well informed about TQM but that there was modest to no awareness of TQM at the bench level. The Board believes that the philosophy of TQM developed under the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award Program for improving the performance of manufacturing companies, service companies, and small businesses--while not directly applicable as now stated4 to the management of research and development--could be adopted to good effect for the management of R&D. In particular, NIST could contribute to the competitiveness of U.S. industry by adopting and proving the worth of TQM for R&D and then by perfecting and disseminating principles of TQM for R&D. Recommendations Develop a set of guidelines for total quality management of research and development programs and projects based on the core values and concepts that underlie the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award Program. Apply the modified form of total quality management to the programs of at least one major laboratory, preferably one whose programs are predominantly industrially oriented. If NIST's experience in using total quality management for research and development turns out in time to be noteworthy, disseminate the guidelines and results nationally as an adjunct to the current Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award Program. 4   “1993 Award Criteria,” individual copies available free of charge from Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Route 270 and Quince Orchard Road, Administration Building, Room A537, Gaithersburg, MD 20899, telephone (301) 975-2036, telefax (301) 948-3716.