During this two-day workshop, suggestions and recommendations were put forth regarding the status of instrumentation proposal submission, review and funding. Names, addresses, the agenda and listed speakers are provided as an appendix to this document. All recommendations are listed at the end of each of the ensuing sections that provide detailed information on each of the specific panels. The panel recommendations with highest consensus are listed below:
The CRIF program should not be discontinued. Rather, it should continue to provide funds for shared use instrumentation at the current or increased level of funding. An REU [Research Experience for Undergraduates]-CRIF program should be investigated as a possible source of equipment funds for smaller schools and/or undergraduate institutions.
In certain disciplines, Regional/National Facilities with extended continuity (greater than five years) can play an important role. Such facilities should be funded appropriately with consideration given to travel and housing costs for those individuals visiting and benefiting from collaborations with such facilities.
It is important that NSF fund instrument development proposals. Many suggestions are provided within the following sections on how this might be accomplished more effectively. In particular, instrument development proposals should be reviewed separately from shared instrumentation proposals and a unique set of review criteria for the former should be mandated and implemented.
Interagency cooperation is very important and should be encouraged in order to fund high end, expensive instrumentation and national research centers.
Support for instrumentation for the individual PI [principal investigator] as well as those applying for shared use instruments must be preserved.
The requirement for matching funds should be maintained in order to show institutional commitment. However, more creative sources of matching money should be allowed; i.e. capital development for new buildings, service and maintenance costs and industrial funds should be viewed as matching contribution. It was suggested that matching money be required for equipment in excess of $100K rather than $80K) for undergraduate institutions, thus making it easier for these important institutions to train prospective graduate students as well as future employees to local industry.
Although Chemistry as a discipline is rapidly becoming much more equipment-intensive, NSF support for instrumentation is holding at approximately 15% of the Chemistry budget. Therefore, it is essential that NSF maintain at least the current level of support for instrumentation (especially instrument development) in Chemistry.
Requests for MRI funds should be limited to $2 million/year per institution rather than the current 2 proposals/year per institution restriction. This would eliminate the bias in favor of large-ticket instrument requests; i.e. a dollar value rather than a restricted number of proposals would ensure equity across the different types of instrumentation.