Optimal to Provide Evaluation Support for NIST’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership Business-to-Business Network Pilots
College Park, Md. – 9/29/15- Optimal Solutions Group, LLC (Optimal) was recently awarded a contract by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to support the evaluation of the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Business-to-Business Network Pilot Project, which consists of ten total sites.
The ten pilots are implemented by MEP centers distributed throughout the United States, which each received a two-year, $250,000 grant from NIST in late 2014. These MEP centers work directly with small and mid-sized U.S. manufacturers to help them create and retain jobs, increase profits, and save time and money.
The purpose of the pilot projects is to establish and test the human and information infrastructure needed to conduct real-time business opportunity scouting, technology scouting, supplier scouting and market scouting, including the active content management and human interactions needed to establish and maintain data quality, identify business opportunities, and make matches on behalf of companies. More detailed information on the awardees and their respective projects can be found here:
Under this contract, Optimal will develop and implement a process evaluation to understand how these ten pilot projects operate and evolve at the human and technical level, and to determine their interoperability and scalability. To do so, Optimal will develop logic models for the pilots, and review and evaluate their project design, platform technologies, and content management schemas. The goal is to assess the need for some or all of these pilots to be scaled nationwide, and if present, to recommend a suitable path to do so. In addition, Optimal will also provide NIST with program and project management support.
For more information on the National Institute of Standards and Technology Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership, click here: http://nist.gov/mep/
Optimal Solutions Group, LLC
Founded in 2000, Optimal Solutions Group, LLC is a nonpartisan public policy research and technical assistance firm that stands out for its quantitative expertise and innovative approaches to provide rigorous, data-driven research and technical assistance to government agencies, corporations, nonprofit organizations, and philanthropic foundations. Located at the University of Maryland’s M Square Research Park in College Park, Optimal is a leader in driving real-time public policy research. Optimal has 60+ employees, including multidisciplinary researchers with backgrounds in business, communication, economics, education, health policy, psychology, public policy, sociology, statistics, and urban planning. Optimal has four research centers: Health, Education, Housing, and Workforce Development and Social Policy.
National Institute of Standards and Technology
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is a non-regulatory federal agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce. NIST's mission is to promote U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards, and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life. Through the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) initiative, NIST helps facilitate business-to-business networking for small businesses and manufacturers.