“rich-uncle, poor-nephew” phenomenon, where the lead organization controls the funding, scope, and direction of the research and the “supporting” organization is in a position simply of support. The Accelerated Strategic Computing Initiative (ASCI) program seems to be a good example of a program in which the funding is shared between laboratories and universities. Participants were intrigued by the possibility of extending this model to other programmatic sources of funding.
The primary mission of a university is the creation and dissemination of knowledge; the primary mission of a national laboratory is providing results that support DOE’s research program. These differences in focus result in differences in the way in which the accompanying research is conducted. Universities have the ability to bring a significant number of graduate and undergraduate students to a project. However this can lead to different time scales for the expectation of project results, as well as different working models for conducting research. A doctoral student may need 4-5 years on a project to complete both research and educational activities. Master’s students may need a clearly defined 1-year project to complete the thesis requirement. Laboratory projects may have more of a 1-2 year time frame for completion, with continuous progress expected and reported on to DOE. Additionally, the large, complex nature of many laboratory projects requires them to be team driven, whereas most universities reward individual (single PI) achievements.