National Institute of Standards and Technology
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) operates under the authority of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Act (15 U.S.C. 271), which amends the Organic Act of March 3, 1901 (ch. 872), that created the National Bureau of Standards (NBS) in 1901. In 1988, Congress renamed NBS as NIST and expanded its activities and responsibilities.
NIST is a nonregulatory Federal agency within the Commerce Department. Its mission is to promote measurement science, standards, and technology to enhance productivity, facilitate trade, and improve the quality of life. NIST carries out its mission through the NIST laboratories, which conduct research to advance the U.S. technological infrastructure; the Baldrige National Quality Program, which helps U.S. businesses and other organizations improve the performance and quality of their operations; the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership, which helps smaller firms adopt new manufacturing and management technologies; and the Technology Innovative Program, which provides cost-shared awards to industry and other institutions for high-risk, high-reward research in areas of critical national need.