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Midsize Facilities: The Infrastructure for Materials Research
Focus their attention on sending users back to their home institutions with high-quality, useful data;
Engage in critical self-assessment, and consider it important to have mechanisms for taking account of feedback from users;
Enjoy stable, long-term funding source(s), with local institutional support;
Are often enhanced by having an enthusiastic and broad user base;
Are directed by effective and energetic management; and
Advance the technology (instrumentation and/or techniques and/or applications) through the operation of the facility.
The committee found several instances of successful facilities that are characterized by high-level recognition and backing (with funding) from the host institution. For example, at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the Center for Accelerator Mass Spectrometry is supported in part by laboratory director funds; at Northwestern University, NUANCE (Northwestern University Atomic and Nanoscale Characterization Experimental Center) is supported in part financially from the university president’s office. The committee cannot overemphasize the importance of a clear and well-defined role for the host institution in the success of a midsize facility. The level and type of commitment from host institutions vary widely, but its presence was a constant in all of the facilities that the committee visited.