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US president nominates new head of NIST

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US president nominates new head of NIST

Laurie E. Locascio is nominated by U.S. President Joe Biden as the Commerce Department’s next Undersecretary for Standards and Technology, according to a White House Release, a role that includes leadership of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

Currently the vice president for Research at the University of Maryland’s College Park and Baltimore campuses, she oversees its research and innovation enterprise which bring in $1.1 billion in external research funding each year.

She is a professor in the both the departments of bioengineering and pharmacology. Locascio works on the development of “large interdisciplinary research programs, technology commercialization, innovation and economic development efforts, and strategic partnerships with industry, federal, academic, and nonprofit collaborators,” according to the announcement.

Locascio already has almost thirty years of experience at NIST, according to the Federal News Network. Locascio began her time at the institute, which oversees testing standards in biometric technologies, in 1993, making her way to director of the Material Measurement Laboratory.

In her last role at NIST she was acting principal deputy director and associate director for Laboratory Programs. In that position, Locascio was responsible for leading the internal scientific research and laboratory programs across campuses in Gaithersburg, MD and Boulder, CO.

The nomination requires confirmation from the Senate.

NIST recently published a proposal on identifying and managing bias in artificial intelligence as part of a greater piece of work into developing trust in AI and conducts tests into the accuracy of biometric technologies such as facial recognition including rankings.

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