program requirements in program solicitations. This would enable centers to put the appropriate focus and resources on this aspect of their center and for reviewers to make appropriate judgments about accomplishments.
Recommendation: Together with the team of MRSEC directors, NSF should provide a mechanism to enable industry to effectively understand the resources and expertise available through the network of MRSECs. This may require a coordination function that currently does not seem to exist, such as a national network liaison officer based at NSF.
Industrial outreach and knowledge-transfer effort is inherently based on interactions among people. Encouraging more personnel exchanges, such as student internships, extended sabbaticals for industrial researchers at MRSECs, visits by MRSEC faculty to key industry partners, significant industrial involvement on MRSEC advisory boards, and so on, will be essential to effective knowledge transfer and skill development (especially for students). For instance, centers that have better exposure to industrial partners could provide access to students involved in other MRSECs. Centers’ tapping into these shared opportunities presented by the entire MRSEC program would enhance the program’s overall impact.