Brown University School of Engineering

NIST Professional Research Experience Program (PREP)

Professional Research Experience Program (PREP)

A partnership between the National Institute of Standards and Technology and Brown University

The Professional Research Experience Program (PREP) is designed to provide valuable laboratory experience and financial assistance to graduate students, postdocs, and faculty. The program is intended to assure continued growth and progress of science and engineering in the United States.

The Professional Research Experience Program (PREP) is a partnership between the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Boulder, Colorado and Brown University. It is our objective to provide research opportunities at NIST and to facilitate collaborations between our faculty and NIST staff. The program places graduate students, faculty, staff scientists, and postdoctoral researchers in NIST Boulder labs to gain hands-on research experience working with NIST researchers. Graduate student participants receive full tuition reimbursement and a monthly stipend or hourly wage work for longer periods of their PhD at NIST on topics of mutual interest to NIST and Brown scientists. The opportunity is also available to international students.

This opportunity requires spending 1-2 semesters in Boulder, Colorado (all research must be done on site at NIST.). Travel to and from Boulder for participation in the PREP program will be covered for accepted Brown students/researchers. Learn more about living in Boulder here.

Applicable disciplines include engineering, computer science, chemistry, and physics; for information about the types of research conducted at NIST, visit NIST's Projects/Programs listing​.

Interested graduate students must be in good academic standing, be enrolled full-time, and have a Brown faculty reference. Additional desired qualifications include: research publications/conference presentations, technical work experience, and computer programming/software expertise.

To indicate your interest in the program:

Graduate students and Postdocs: Please complete the interest form. All submissions are evaluated based on the above-mentioned criteria and the availability of positions at NIST; we will be in touch if an opportunity arises at NIST that matches your interests.

Approximate Deadlines:

Spring semester in Boulder - November 1

Fall semester in Boulder - March 1

Research Staff: Please contact Kate Duggan at

Faculty: Please identify potential NIST sponsors (see NIST's Projects/Programs listing) and contact Kate Duggan at if you would like assistance reaching out.

We will keep interest form submissions on file for when applicable positions are made available, as well as share them with NIST researchers to try to encourage their interest. Faculty participation will be more collaborative and require deeper planning and outreach on the part of the faculty member to establish a relationship with a lab head at NIST.

Sometimes, lab heads at NIST will reach out to Brown to try to identify suitable candidates for a specific opening/need they have in their lab. In those cases, we will refer to our file of interested researchers as well as conduct additional outreach as necessary, first to the Brown research community and then beyond to try to find a match. Any researcher who fits NIST’s need for a specific position will need to complete the interest form, and then additional paperwork if selected for hire.

Current openings at NIST:

Four Postdoctoral Positions available in NIST's Communications Technology Laboratory (posted 4/5/18)

If interested, please contact Program Coordinator Kate Duggan at and send your current CV, cover letter, and position of interest.

Brown PREP Administrative Team

Main Contact: Program Coordinator Kate Duggan,

Academic Contact: Jennifer Casasanto, Associate Dean Brown School of Engineering