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Midsize Facilities: The Infrastructure for Materials Research (2006)

Chapter:Appendix A: Statement of Task

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Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Statement of Task." National Research Council. 2006. Midsize Facilities: The Infrastructure for Materials Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11336.
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Appendixes

Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Statement of Task." National Research Council. 2006. Midsize Facilities: The Infrastructure for Materials Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11336.
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Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Statement of Task." National Research Council. 2006. Midsize Facilities: The Infrastructure for Materials Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11336.
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A
Statement of Task

The proposed study will review the state of small and mid-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 and 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 and national laboratory facilities, it will also examine the operations of materials facilities in the commercial sector and in the international arena.

Specifically, the study’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.

  2. Collecting data on the usage, costs and structure of smaller facilities and compiling an inventory of small equipment clusters.

  3. Examining the current models of facility operation and assessing their cost/effectiveness, considering the appropriate metrics for facility success, and assessing criteria for minimal size.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Statement of Task." National Research Council. 2006. Midsize Facilities: The Infrastructure for Materials Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11336.
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  1. Exploring alternate methods of instrumentation utilization such as:

    1. Increasing user groups at small facilities to 10-20 independent investigators.

    2. Establishing regional centers by identifying equipment appropriate for consolidation into multi-user shared facilities.

  1. Examining opportunities for instrumentation research in the context of facilities, including the impact of these on science and industry and the determination of the optimal location of instrumentation development activities.

  2. Assessing the educational role played by small facilities.

  3. Exploring the need for long-range support models for these facilities.

  4. Assessing the effect, if any, of the policies and structure of the federal research agencies that support smaller facilities.

  5. Analyzing the issues from an international perspective.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Statement of Task." National Research Council. 2006. Midsize Facilities: The Infrastructure for Materials Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11336.
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Page125
Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Statement of Task." National Research Council. 2006. Midsize Facilities: The Infrastructure for Materials Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11336.
×
Page126
Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Statement of Task." National Research Council. 2006. Midsize Facilities: The Infrastructure for Materials Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11336.
×
Page127
Suggested Citation:"Appendix A: Statement of Task." National Research Council. 2006. Midsize Facilities: The Infrastructure for Materials Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/11336.
×
Page128
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Most of the instruments now used for materials research are too complex and expensive for individual investigators to own, operate, and maintain them. Consequently, they have become increasingly consolidated into multi-user, small to midsized research facilities, located at many sites around the country. The proliferation of these facilities, however, has drawn calls for a careful assessment of best principles for their operation. With support from the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation, the NRC carried out a study to characterize and discuss ways to optimize investments in materials research facility infrastructure with attention to midsize facilities. This report provides an assessment of the nature and importance of mid-sized facilities, their capabilities, challenges they face, current investment, and optimizing their effectiveness.

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