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National Laboratories and Universities: Building New Ways to Work Together - Report of a Workshop Appendix E Major Benefits and Challenges Type of Collaboration Examples, Benefits, Challenges and Solutions (where indicated) University as Management Contractor Examples: University of California operation of LLNL, LANL, LBL University of Chicago operation of ANL Southeastern Universities operation of Jefferson Laboratory University of Tennessee-Battelle operation of ORNL Benefits: Stronger interaction between laboratory and university scientists, by virtue of colocated facilities Similarities in reward and accounting systems: joint appointments specifically are much easier when accounting systems are compatible Challenges: Political challenges from Congress Level-by-level Matched Pair Interactions Between Institutions Example: Sandia strategy of teaming each administrative level with its counterpart on the academic side (e.g., its division directors or vice presidents with campus deans/ or administrators, its technical staff with academic faculty). Benefits: Ensures duration and consistency at all levels in the institutional relationship Challenges: New approach, not yet tested outside SNL Large User Facility Examples: Advanced Photon Source (APS) Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory High Flux Isotope Reactor
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National Laboratories and Universities: Building New Ways to Work Together - Report of a Workshop Type of Collaboration Examples, Benefits, Challenges and Solutions (where indicated) Large User Facility Lujan Neutron Scattering Center (LANSCE) Spallation Neutron Source Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory Benefits: Users often actively involved in design via semipermanent build-and-use teams and also in decision making via advisory user groups User participation (e.g., beamtime allocation) is by an open and well-defined process. Most user facilities have easily navigable web signups; some have hosting facilities for visitors Use of collaborative scientist teams to partially fund and design user facilities leads to more innovative science results than the government-funds-all approach used in Europe External science advisory committees also ensure high scientific quality. Users are 50 percent academic; therefore, there is a direct impact of user facilities on quality of education in the United States Siting of user facilities at national laboratories enables experiments requiring permanent professional staff (project duration > graduate student lifetime), complex engineering and design expertise, a sustained team approach, and centralized management User facilities provide a strong political support base because of the many users involved Challenges: Cost for a build-and-use team is hefty—from $2 million to $15 million. When funding amounts are large, the use teams for each beamline tend to be very large and hence generic. Specialization within a single facility (from beamline to beamline) can be lost It is not clear that the existing funding model can be used for the next generation of user facilities, which will cost even more. Also, it is easier to obtain funds for construction than for ongoing operations and maintenance—the latter can be a real challenge Life scientists are becoming the dominant users of some physics-based user facilities, such as the APS, raising an interesting question as to the relative roles of NIH and DOE in the future funding of these facilities Administrative agreements for university access to user facilities are negotiated on a case-by-case basis at a significant cost in time and manpower. There is a strong need for a standardized MOU between user facilities and universities Universities that are geographically close to user facilities have the greatest chance of building meaningful collaborations; those far away may feel geographic discrimination. Remote users can be accommodated by virtual capabilities in some facilities, but not most and not well Though a small portion of the overall user base, industry (e.g., pharmaceutical company)-funded research has IP challenges associated with it
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National Laboratories and Universities: Building New Ways to Work Together - Report of a Workshop Type of Collaboration Examples, Benefits, Challenges and Solutions (where indicated) Large User Facility Classified research, particularly the handling of biosensitive materials, is currently not well provided for in user facilities There is some question as to whether laboratory employees themselves will continue to be able to participate in basic research at user facilities, given funding pressures to move toward applied projects. This loss of basic research activity distances laboratory employees from other users and makes their work more difficult to evaluate by peer review methods Small User Facility Examples: Neutron Powder Diffractometer in LANSCE Nanoscience centers sponsored by Office of Science Combustion Research Facility Benefits: National Laboratories can build and operate specialized small facilities that universities cannot, particularly those that require (1) significant engineering design and prototyping; (2) full-time, multiyear team operation; (3) centralized planning; and (4) intensive ongoing technical support. Because these required human resources are available only at national laboratories, their small facilities tend to be nationally unique Funding for $2 million to $20 million facilities is possible in the laboratory context; it is nearly impossible in the university context where equipment proposals are limited to much smaller sums Challenges: The case for the support of these facilities at the national laboratories has not been made clearly to Congress or DOE Accordingly—and despite their quality—the smaller facilities tend to be characterized by poor national recognition, little advertising within the scientific community, and inconsistent or deficient user support budgets and processes However, there is no substitute for many of the capabilities offered by these smaller facilities Joint Institute or Program Examples: Applied Sciences Program at University of California, Davis (UC Davis-LLNL) Advanced Materials Laboratory (SNL-University of New Mexico) Institute for Geophysics and Planetary Physics (LANL and LLNL with four UC campuses) Global Change Research Institute (PNNL-University of Maryland) Joint Institute for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (PNNL-University of Washington) Joint Institute for Biological Sciences (ORNL-University of Tennessee [UT]) Joint Institute for Computational Sciences (ORNL-University of Tennessee)
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National Laboratories and Universities: Building New Ways to Work Together - Report of a Workshop Type of Collaboration Examples, Benefits, Challenges and Solutions (where indicated) Joint Institute or Program Benefits: On both sides: science that could not be accomplished otherwise For the student: an additional mentor for the thesis at the national laboratory, plus substantial research time at the laboratory including access to high-caliber equipment For the university: an easier path for funding to and from the national laboratory. Joint institutes can provide an accounting path solution for joint laboratory-university work not otherwise possible with two different accounting or cost differential systems For the laboratory: very high capture rate for future employees—typically 30-50 percent of those who participate in the program Challenges: Long-term commitment is required to see results Many of the best students are not U.S. citizens Danger of students being perceived as a “job shop” for the laboratory if controls not instituted Geographical distance of the institute from one or the other member institutions can be a disincentive to collaboration Base funding for the institute may or may not exist, and there is no guarantee of big success with initial joint proposals Intellectual property is a continuing challenge and generally requires case-by-case resolution Formalized Material or InformationSharing Arrangements Examples: Tennessee Mouse Genome Consortium (ORNL-4 Tennessee universities, 1 hospital, 1 medical college) Oak Ridge Center for Advanced Studies (ORNL-UT and 90 other universities) ASCI (LLNL-dozens of universities) Nicholas Center for Structural Genomics and other beamline consortia (ANL) Benefits: Development and growth of regional expertise; increased scientific networking, data access, and material sharing Possibility of state funding for building construction Higher success rate for proposals due to existing collaborative networks Access to and cultivation of minority workforce located at historically black colleges and universities; access to scarce workforce in certain technical areas Increased access of universities to laboratory facilities Challenges: ASCI appears to be the most prominent example of a success story in this area, but the multilayered structure of that initiative was never replicated elsewhere
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National Laboratories and Universities: Building New Ways to Work Together - Report of a Workshop Type of Collaboration Examples, Benefits, Challenges and Solutions (where indicated) Adjunct Faculty Appointments for Laboratory Personnel at Universities Examples: PNNL SNL LLNL Benefits: Increased teaching resources at universities, including the ability to nucleate new fields within the university Challenges: Teaching compensation at universities is extremely poor, about $3,500 per semester. Adjunct faculty not necessarily regarded as part of the faculty team Joint Faculty Appointments Examples: ORNL-UT (12 positions) BNL-State University of New York (SUNY), Stony Brook Argonne National Laboratory–University of Chicago Benefits: Superb flexibility for the individual scientist Additional laboratory space Translation of laboratory-based findings to university environment and students Potential recruitment bridge for labs to obtain high-quality students as future employees Prestige for laboratory employees carrying university title Reduction of cultural barriers between laboratory and university when there are joint professors who routinely make the crossover Sabbaticals can be used to support professors at laboratories for short periods of time, even when joint appointments are not possible Challenges: Very difficult to surmount different accounting or overhead systems with a single salary package when the laboratory is not owned by a university For contractor-managed laboratories, different accounting systems typically lead to double overhead for both salaries and projects Joint faculty appointments require physical proximity between institutions and consistent performance metrics across the institutions Creative Solution: A joint institute can be an “accounting path solution” for institutions with differing salary and overhead structures, who would otherwise find such appointments impossible Collaborative Projects (by individual co-PIs or joint groups) Examples: Grid Computing Project at ANL and many others Benefits: For both sides: an ability to do scientific projects not possible without both sets of expertise. For example, Grid Computing Project won many prizes for breakthrough work
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National Laboratories and Universities: Building New Ways to Work Together - Report of a Workshop Type of Collaboration Examples, Benefits, Challenges and Solutions (where indicated) Collaborative Projects (by individual co-PIs or joint groups) For the laboratories: access to students participating in the projects as prospective employees. Also, increased retention of the highest-quality scientists, who might go elsewhere without cutting-edge research opportunities and the accompanying peer recognition. Ability of scientists doing classified work to have their more fundamental, unclassified ideas thoroughly vetted and critiqued by the scientific community—resulting in much higher-quality work on the classified side For the universities: partial support and training of involved students; access to unique equipment; and substantial technician, engineering, and programmer support. These permanent professional staff are especially difficult to find at universities University researchers also gain the ability to be involved in a scientific endeavor that lasts more than the lifetime of a single graduate student. Challenges: Time scale of individual laboratory projects much shorter than university thesis, leading to differing views of end points and mismatched rates of progress Not all administrators understand, value, or reward collaboration across sectors. Untenured faculty are particularly at risk if they invest too much in collaboration. Specifically, team science is rewarded in national laboratories, while individual PI science is rewarded in universities Universities may view labs as source of money only or as competitor for funding, in which case the goals are not necessarily shared and the collaboration suffers. Possible perceptions of competition can be ameliorated by collaborating with those most concerned Security considerations generally require separate computer networks Lack of education or research as explicit, well-understood (and funded) missions of DOE prevents the labs and their employees from pursuing collaborations or student cultivation to the extent they might be able to otherwise Significant color-of-money problems: University and laboratory researchers cannot be co-PIs on the same grant application, meaning one has to be in a subcontractor (inferior position) to the other Only certain moneys (in scarce supply) can be used to sponsor visits of collaborators to the labs Some labs have no “color” of money that can be used to sponsor laboratory involvement in a university consortium Reduction in LDRD money at the laboratories has limited the amount of inquiry-driven (i.e., university-amenable) research that can be conducted, as well as the extent of interaction with university students Lack of “white space” (unclassified meeting space) within the labs makes it difficult for collaborators to give presentations on their work to laboratory employees
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National Laboratories and Universities: Building New Ways to Work Together - Report of a Workshop Type of Collaboration Examples, Benefits, Challenges and Solutions (where indicated) Collaborative Projects (by individual co-PIs or joint groups) Intellectual property and other clauses in research contracts, grants, “work for hire” are the source of much institutional disagreement and exacerbating delays. (“The scientists are ready to go, and the lawyers can’t work it out”) Creative Solution: Where possible, use NIH as a funding source for collaborations involving national laboratory and university researchers: both researchers can be on the same proposal Postdoctoral Fellowship Programs Examples: Lawrence fellows (LLNL) Oppenheimer fellows (LANL) Sandia Doctoral Fellowship Program Benefits: High-stipend postdoctoral fellows are “the cream of the crop,” exceptionally well qualified The programs successfully convert 30-50 percent of their participants to national laboratory employees Challenges: Many of the most highly qualified applicants are not U.S. citizens. Converting them to national laboratory employees requires extensive bureaucracy, including assurance programs for green card applications, sequential or extended temporary positions until citizenship is granted, and cyber access Student Outreach Examples: Student Research Apprentice Program at PNNL Classroom studies and laboratory visits by students to the High Field Magnetic Resonance Facility at PNNL University Relations Program at LLNL Student Employee Graduate Research Fellowship Program at LLNL Benefits (anticipated): Robust future workforce Challenges: Congressionally mandated cutbacks for education programs in the Office of Science (from $60 million to $6 million) meant that many broad-based efforts were abandoned. Most efforts are now limited to individual laboratories Travel support to the labs for students and professors is lacking—virtually every pot of money is the “wrong” color for this purpose Meaningful interactions at the undergraduate level limited primarily to institutions within 2 hours of each other Graduates in some areas of specialization (radiochemistry, nuclear engineering) are in perilously short supply; may require coordinated outreach, scholarship, and support programs by national laboratories and affected agencies (DOE, DOD, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Defense Threat Reduction Agency)
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National Laboratories and Universities: Building New Ways to Work Together - Report of a Workshop Type of Collaboration Examples, Benefits, Challenges and Solutions (where indicated) Student Outreach Disappearance and/or inconsistent application of agency-supported graduate programs is a partial contributor to current workforce deficit in critical skills Large fraction of advanced technical workforce is of non-U.S. origin; visa hassles and expectation of poor treatment by authorities have made these best and brightest increasingly inaccessible to the laboratories
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