National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

NIST Sites: Gaithersburg, Maryland and Boulder, Colorado


  • Overview/Introduction
  • Current and Upcoming Conferences
  • NIST Site Information
  • How to Get to NIST
  • Gaithersburg Area Hotels
  • Planning A Meeting at NIST
  • General Guidelines
  • Meeting Rooms
  • Conference Services
  • Contacts

  • Overview/Introduction

    NIST, the site of more than 100 major conferences and symposia each year, is well equipped to handle conferences of up to 1,000 attendees. These conferences attract experts in many fields of science and technology worldwide.

    The NIST Conference Program provides the expertise necessary to plan these scientific and technical conferences, offering a full-service staff to help make your meeting a success. Each conference is assigned a two person team - a manager, who is responsible for overseeing the promotional and logistical details of the conference, and a registrar, who is the main point of contact with registrants and potential attendees. The registrar also handles the registration process and oversees staff who work at the registration desk. The team approach assures there will be someone to answer questions and respond to your needs at all times.

    Most NIST conferences are co-sponsored with other federal agencies, academic institutions, professional societies, or industry groups. NIST may co-sponsor conferences with commercial or profit-making organizations provided the conference is not budgeted to make a profit for the organizers or the conference is not used for commercial purposes by the co-sponsor.

    Go to Contents

    NIST Site Information

    The National Institute of Standards and Technology headquarters is located on a 570-hectares (acre) site in Gaithersburg, Maryland, approximately 25 miles from downtown Washington, D.C.

    NIST has long been known for the beauty of its grounds. The complex consists of an 11-story Administration building, and numerous special purpose laboratories, with separate buildings for instrument shops, and a steam and chilled water generation plant. The Administration Building houses the meeting and dining facilities. The meeting facilities are designed to accommodate scientific meetings of varying sizes. Adjoining the meeting area is the dining area which includes a staff lounge, useful for coffee breaks, a cafeteria seating 650, and 3 smaller dining rooms which can be reserved for group luncheons. Also located in the Administration building is the library, small museum, and a standards vault, all of which contain memorabilia from nearly 100 years of service as the Government's primary measurement research agency. From the museum, a glassed-in walkway leads from the first floor library area to the dining and meeting room areas. One can exit the walkway and step out into the central courtyard, a pleasant open area with small fountain and pool, a large weeping beech tree, and other landscaping. The meeting, dining, and library facilities were intended to provide greater flexibility in present and future plans for scientific meetings, educational programs, and for the day-to-day meeting and dining needs of the staff. These needs have been met with designs which have proved to be both useful and attractive.

    Go to Contents

    Planning a Meeting at NIST

    Conferences held at NIST must address subject matter which relates to some aspect of NIST competence or interest. Most NIST conferences are co-sponsored with other federal agencies, academic institutions, or professional societies. NIST may co-sponsor conferences with commercial organizations provided that the conference is not budgeted to make a profit for the organizers, and the conference is not used for commercial purposes by the co-sponsor. In addition, a NIST technical organization should be committed to participation in the conference with at least one technical representative who will be concerned with the scope and coverage of that conference. Conferences should not be considered definitely booked until a NIST Form 1176 (for sponsored or co-sponsored meetings) or a NIST Form 1176a (for hosted meetings) has been filled out and signed by the appropriate approving officials. Adminstrative charges are assessed based on the number of attendees.

    Go to Contents

    General Guidelines

    Scheduling - Conferences should not begin before 9 a.m. or end precisely at 5 p.m. (Large conferences may begin registration at 8 a.m. on the opening day.) This schedule eases traffic patterns on the Institute grounds. Visitors must have special permission from the Security Office to be on the NIST grounds before 7 a.m. or after 6:30 p.m. on weekdays, or any time on Saturday, Sunday, or legal holidays.

    Food Functions - Guest Services, Inc., which serves the NIST employees, also caters food functions, including breakfasts, coffee breaks, lunches, dinners, receptions, and picnics. Any conference with 80 or more attendees should be served set-menu luncheons in a special section of the NIST cafeteria. Luncheons should not be scheduled before 1 p.m. (12:30 p.m. for the NIST Lunch Club) regardless of size. Guarantees must be given 1 week in advance for any food function. Also, food functions can be arranged at local hotels, restaurants, and special locations, such as the Kennedy Center and the Smithsonian Institution.

    Parking - Parking is available at NIST. Outside groups of more than 300 are encouraged to include bus service, which can be provided by NIST.

    Lodging - More than 1,500 hotel rooms are available within 5 miles of NIST. For NIST-sponsored conferences, the program staff can negotiate special rates for attendees. Busing to and from NIST is generally provided by the conference. Gaithersburg Area Hotels.

    Go to Contents

    Meeting Rooms

    NIST's main meeting rooms are located in the Administration Building near the cafeteria. The rooms are well equipped to handle conferences of all sizes and are fully accessible.

    Red Auditorium - Seats 756 persons. Equipment includes satellite receiver, sound reinforcement and a recording microphone mixer system, video camera (3CCD) to record meetings in both VHS and 3/4" U-matic formats and the ability to record two or more meetings simultaneously, 16-mm sound projectors, overhead projectors, slide projectors, projectors for video or computer data and images.

    Green Auditorium - Seats 298 persons. Equipment includes all of the above, in addition to blackboard, corkboard, and black lights.

    Lecture Rooms A, B, and D - Seat 88 persons each (theater); 50 (schoolroom); or 35 (U shape). Equipment includes 16-mm sound projectors, overhead projectors, slide projectors, data projectors, video projection, computer LCD panels, blackboard and black lights.

    Lecture Room C - Seats 44 persons (schoolroom). Equipment includes projectors as above.

    Rooms B111 and B113 - Seat 12 persons (conference style) each for press rooms, speakers' lounges, or conference headquarters. Equipment includes blackboard and screen.

    Dining Rooms - May be set up as two rooms to seat 24 persons each or two for 12 persons each and one for 24 persons. Used for speakers' breakfasts or small luncheons.

    Employees' Lounge - Seats 50 to 80 persons for refreshments, displays, demonstrations, poster sessions, or group lunches.

    If space is not available at NIST the Conference Prcgram staff can secure space off-site and still manage NIST-sponsored or co-sponsored meetings. NIST can also host classffied meetings, provided the users of the facilities perform their own sweeps.

    Go to Contents

    Conference Services

    The services provided by the Conference Program staff vary from conference to conference, according to the type of meeting. The fee for these services is included in conference registration fees and is determined by the range of services provided. Listed below is a sampling of the services offered.

  • Develop a planning schedule.
  • Help reserve meeting room space.
  • Conduct site searches and selections for off-site meetings.
  • Prepare a detailed budget.
  • Coordinate promotional materials to encourage attendance and attract media coverage.
  • Produce printed materials and arrange mailing.
  • Coordinate with hotels for special arrangements.
  • Handle registration, provide confirmations, and mail receipts to attendees.
  • Provide name badges and participant lists.
  • Prepare handout materials.
  • Plan food functions at NIST and off-site locations.
  • Plan room arrangements, including audiovisual requirements and poster sessions.
  • Arrange transportation with NIST buses and outside transportation companies.
  • Arrange tours and special events at NIST and off-site meetings.
  • Oversee conference displays, e.g., poster panels, and process work orders for moving services.
  • Provide and place signs.
  • Handle last-minute photocopying needs. Coordinate parking and security needs.
  • Process proceedings.
  • Monitor conference cost centers; process and track work orders and purchase orders.
  • Provide a final expense and income report.
  • Go to Contents


    The Conference Program staff is located in Rooms B104 and B116 of the Administration Building (101) and is part of the Special Activities Group of the Public and Business Affairs Division.

    Go to Contents

    Since May 21, 1997, this page has been accesed: times.