Industry-funded research may have a specific shorter-term focus, and some research projects are conducted under contract terms that capture intellectual properties, protect confidentiality, restrict publication, and require detailed planning and reporting of progress. These conditions may not attract the most talented of the young engineers to the research effort.

Although the United States has enjoyed a research and funding environment that allows for the installation and operation of a diverse range of facilities to support leading-edge research in chemical engineering, this position is not assured forever.

Major centers and facilities have contributed significantly to U.S. leadership by providing key infrastructure and capabilities for conducting research. Key capabilities for chemical engineering research include materials synthesis and characterization, materials micro- and nanofabrication, genetics and proteomics, fossil fuel utilization, and cyberinfrastructure. U.S. facilities have instrumentation that is on par with the best in the world. However, rapid advances in design and capabilities of instrumentation can cause obsolescence in 5-8 years. In addition, other countries and regions such as the European Union, Japan, Korea, and China are making heavy capital investments.

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