Technical standardsDeveloping educational materials, courses on standards

Published 29 January 2013

So called “documentary standards,” generally developed by industry-based committees, significantly influence industry, commerce and even daily life, but their role is often unrecognized save by those people who are immediately concerned.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is offering support to qualified institutions interested in developing teaching materials and curricula that instruct students in the nature, role, and importance of technical standards in modern society and commerce. The programs, which are expected to be funded in the range from $25,000 to $100,000 per year for up to two years, could develop either undergraduate or graduate level curricula.

A NIST release notes that so called “documentary standards,” generally developed by industry-based committees, significantly influence industry, commerce and even daily life, but their role is often unrecognized save by those people who are immediately concerned. These standards include technical specifications for classes of products; testing criteria to meet those specifications and other rules or guidelines to ensure proper performance; or compatibility with other products and systems; or to protect public health and safety or the environment. In some cases — such as building codes — documentary standards can have the force of law.

The NIST Standards Services Curricula Development Cooperative Agreement Program will support curriculum development to integrate information on standards and the standardization process into seminars, learning resources and courses. Participating organizations and institutions will work with NIST under cooperative agreements and receive financial support from NIST.

NIST says that participants will be expected to develop curriculum for the undergraduate or graduate level to educate students about the impact and nature of standards and standardization, develop methods to integrate the material into undergraduate or graduate-level curricula, develop communications plans to share project results with educators and others involved in curriculum development, and disseminate project results to the public.

Full details of the program, including eligibility requirements, restrictions, the nature of the anticipated awards, the application process and proposal evaluation criteria have been posted on Grants.gov as Federal Funding Opportunity (FFO) 2013-NIST-SSCD-01.

Electronic applications must be received no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern time, Friday, 15 March 2013. Paper applications must be received no later than 5 p.m. Eastern Time on Friday, 15 March 2013. Review, selection and award processing is expected to be completed in April 2013. The earliest anticipated start date for awards under this FFO is expected to be 1 July 2013.

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