NIST Awards UM $15.5 Million in Fellowships

Department of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) professor and chair Robert M. Briber was a co-PI on a proposal that has earned the University of Maryland a $15.5 million award from the U.S. Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to develop and implement a national NIST measurement science and engineering fellowship program. Briber will be working closely on the project with the program's PI, Professor Daniel Lathrop (director, Institute for Research in Electronics and Applied Physics [IREAP]; physics) and co-PI Professor Ellen Williams (physics). The new grant was funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The program will bring some 50 fellows per year over three years to work at NIST laboratories in Gaithersburg, Md., and Charleston, S.C., providing new research collaborations among students, faculty and NIST scientists. The goal is to further develop a future scientific talent pool with extensive training in measurement science and engineering.

"The program reflects and highlights the close interactions between the A. James Clark School of Engineering, the College of Chemical & Life Sciences, the College of Computer, Mathematical & Physical Sciences, and NIST," says Briber. "MSE already has strong ties to NIST and this program will help build on them by creating jobs, supporting top level students and scientists, and advancing science and technology projects that are crucial for maintaining U.S. leadership in the world economy."

According to University of Maryland Vice President for Research Mel Bernstein, the new grant brings the amount of federal recovery act funding the university has received to date to more than $52 million, primarily from NIST. "This funding, by helping to build the careers of young scientists and engineers, and supporting a broad range of innovative research, will significantly assist short and long term job creation," he adds. "By advancing basic understanding in areas ranging from early childhood development to quantum physics, it will lay the foundation for new treatments, new products and new technologies."

The NIST measurement science and engineering fellowship program will be administered by IREAP. Undergraduate and graduate students from the A. James Clark School of Engineering, the University of Maryland at large, and other universities are eligible and encouraged to apply. The University of Maryland will also recruit nationally to fill the senior scientist and postdoctoral research positions.

Positions will be announced on the university's NIST-ARRA Fellowship Program site at

For More Information:

Visit NIST's measurement science and engineering fellowship program website »

Read the NIST press release about the award and program »

Read the University of Maryland press release about the award and program »

Published May 5, 2010