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Dr. Robert E. Chapman

Dr. Robert E. Chapman is the chief of the Applied Economics Office of the Engineering Laboratory (EL) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Dr. Chapman joined NIST, formerly the National Bureau of Standards, in 1975. In his current position as Chief of the Office of Applied Economics, he leads a group of economists that evaluate new technologies, processes, government programs, legislation, and codes and standards to determine efficient alternatives and to measure their economic impacts.

Dr. Chapman's current research activities are focused in three key areas. The first area focuses on the development of metrics and tools for measuring construction productivity. This research supports the Laboratory's Measurement Science for Advancing Infrastructure Delivery Goal; it is being carried out in close collaboration with key construction industry stakeholders in both the private and public sectors. The objective of this effort is to enable the measurement of construction productivity at three distinct levels--task, project, and industry. The second area is in support of the Laboratory’s Homeland Security and Disaster Resilience Goal. The objective of this effort is to develop economic tools (evaluation methods, standards that support and guide the use of those methods, and user-friendly software for implementing those methods) for building owners and managers to aid in the selection of cost-effective strategies for the management of terrorist and environmental risks. Economic tools are needed to direct limited resources to investments in mitigation strategies that will provide the maximum likely reduction in human losses and damages to buildings, industrial facilities, and infrastructure. The third area seeks to identify industries affected by Engineering Laboratory (EL) research; estimate the economic impacts resulting from EL research; and estimate the return on EL's research investment dollars.

Previously, Dr. Chapman was the program manager for the information and outreach branch of the Baldrige National Quality Program, where he provided liaison to a rapidly expanding network of state and local quality award programs. He organized annual workshops for state and local quality award programs focused on defining, documenting, and benchmarking key processes. In addition, he performed statistical analyses to identify indicators of quality excellence and developed key metrics to improve program performance.

Between 1988 and 1990, Dr. Chapman conducted a series of studies on how federal, state and local technology-based programs were assisting small and medium-sized businesses; these studies were published as a formal Report to Congress.

Prior to that, Dr. Chapman led technical projects in the areas of: fire safety in health care facilities; economics of performance-based standards; software design, development, documentation, and evaluation; siting and sizing of solid waste management facilities; and the treatment of uncertainty in decision making. He received the Department of Commerce Bronze Medal for work on performance-based standards.

Dr. Robert E. Chapman


Engineering Laboratory
Applied Economics Office


George Washington University, Ph.D., Economics, 1988

Indiana University (Bloomington), M.A., Mathematics/Statistics, 1974

McDaniel College, formerly Western Maryland College (Westminster), B.A., Summa Cum Laude, Mathematics, 1972


Phone: 301-975-2723
Fax: 301-975-4032