By National Research Council, Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences, Laboratory Assessments Board, Panel on Electronics and Electrical Engineering
The record at the EEEL offers an review of the Lab’s 4 divisions. The overview relies on 4 standards: alignment with nationwide priorities, motivation of its courses, technical benefit, and technical application caliber. The record additionally offers a glance at 3 extra issues: staffing and investment, overseas matters, and the making plans method.
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Additional info for An Assessment of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Electronics and Electrical Engineering Laboratory: Fiscal Year 2007
There seems to be some concern within EEEL about the gradual degradation of facilities and infrastructure at NIST Boulder in general. There were even some staff concerns about the overall future of the Boulder campus. The staff should be commended for maintaining the excellence in their programs despite the atmosphere of uncertainty. The labs there are very overcrowded, but relief may be in sight in the form of a new building. If the Optoelectronics Division can acquire an appropriate share of the new facilities, its ability to maintain and continue to grow its programs would improve.
Some quantification of parameters and recommended measurement processes should be agreed on by the researchers on this subject. The commendable and continuous focus on uncertainty and error characterization should be encouraged. NIST needs to be seen as the leader by example for this activity, especially in those technical areas in which uncertainty characterization is less well developed. EEEL should increase awareness of metrological needs in emerging technologies. Emerging wireless systems such as WiFi, WiMax, and cellular systems are one such opportunity.
While this mode of staffing can be cost effective, the work being done by these researchers, both permanent and temporary, will make them attractive candidates for jobs outside EEEL, aggravating the problem of long-term planning, vision, and sustainability. EEEL has been quite successful in pursuing OA funding. Many projects now obtain 50 percent or more of their total funding from OA. However, this success could also result in an increase in the fraction of temporary staff, an increased workload for the permanent staff to maintain the OA funding, a shift away from EEEL’s mission to satisfy the OA objectives, a diminishment of NIST’s independent authoritative position, and a further strain on EEEL’s ability to maintain its core competency.