Through its Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), NIST intends to fund a six-month project in support of Alaska's efforts to diversify its manufacturing base. U.S.-based nonprofit institutions or organizations, including state and local governments, are eligible to apply for the $150,000 award.
The awardee will also receive technical assistance and advice from MEP to develop an understanding of the technical needs of small and mid-size manufacturers in Alaska. The project could lead to the creation of a new MEP center in the state to replace the existing center, whose agreement with NIST MEP expires Sept. 30, 2013. The center's board chose not to seek a new agreement.
"By carefully evaluating the needs of Alaska's manufacturers, we hope to develop an effective plan for helping them grow," said Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director Patrick Gallagher.
The effort is part of NIST's State Technology Extension Program (STEP), which was created to help states support their local manufacturing industries by enhancing the manufacturer's competitiveness through the application of science and technology. The award will help the state engage the manufacturing and service provider communities, as well as potential partners in organizing a more effective and efficient system for providing technical assistance services to manufacturers.The project will explore the current needs limiting the growth of small and mid-sized manufacturers, as well as a potential business model and financial structure, partnerships, and metrics and measures for an Alaska MEP Center.