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Smaller Facilities: Letter Report (2004)

Chapter: Appendix A: Charge to the Committee

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Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Charge to the Committee." National Research Council. 2004. Smaller Facilities: Letter Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10961.
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APPENDIX A Charge to the Committee The proposer! study will review the state of small and mic3-sized multi-user facilities within the materials research complex in the United States and will consider methods for optimizing the use of existing resources, including the consideration of structural strategies anti actions to provide services more efficiently through the implementation of revenue-neutral solutions. These facilities are recognized as a key feature of materials research, yet there is concern that they are not being optimally developed or utilized and that new opportunities for scientific development are not being properly pursued. Although the study will confine its recommendations to university anci national laboratory facilities, it will also examine the operations of materials facilities in the commercial sector and in the international arena. Specifically, the stu(ly's task will incorporate the following elements: 1. Providing a definition of small and mid-sized multi-user facilities and their role in the materials research complex. Collecting data on the usage, costs and structure of smaller facilities and compiling an inventory of small equipment clusters. 3. Examining the current moclels of facility operation and assessing their cost/effectiveness, considering the appropriate metrics for facility success, anci assessing criteria for minimal size. Exploring alternate methods of instrumentation utilization such as: a. Increasing user groups at small facilities to 10-20 indepen(lent investigators. b. Establishing regional centers by identifying equipment appropriate for consolidation into multi-user shared facilities. 5. Examining opportunities for instrumentation research in the context of facilities, including the impact of these on science anti industry and the determination of the optimal location of instrumentation development activities. 6. Assessing the educational role played by small facilities. 7. Exploring the need for long-range support models for these facilities. 8. Assessing the effect, if any, of the policies and structure of the federal research agencies that support smaller facilities. 9. Analyzing the issues from an international perspective. 2. 7

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The Committee on Smaller Facilities is review the current state of small and mid-sized facilities for materials research in the United States at the request of NSF and DOE. Such facilities play a major role in materials research, but they are widely considered to be less than optimally developed or used. To address this concern, the NRC was asked to assess these facilities to help determine ways to use them more effectively. This letter report presents key topics that the committee will explore in depth to carry out this assessment. In particular, the study will assess the characteristics of successful smaller facilities and challenges they face. Recommendations will be provided to enhance the effectiveness of such facilities in performing materials research.

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