Sandia LabNews

Sandia making user facilities more user-friendly

Sandia is adopting two new DOE model agreements that will simplify the way universities and industry use the Labs’ facilities.

DOE recently finalized the agreement forms — one designed for proprietary research and the other for nonproprietary research — and is encouraging all of its laboratories across the country to begin using them.

Sandia, like many of the DOE laboratories, has unique facilities, called user facilities, that are made available to universities and industry to conduct research and work with Sandia researchers.

“Industry and universities that want to use our facilities must sign an agreement form,” says Mary Monson (1032), who heads up Sandia’s user facility program. “In the past, the agreements were individualized across the DOE laboratories. This new method will standardize forms so that all agreements are alike, presenting a common DOE face to industry.”

The new agreements are intended to require minimal, if any, further negotiation and to be quickly executable.

Mary says there are two agreement forms. The proprietary form allows industry to use and pay full cost recovery for the research and work done at the user facilities for proprietary work. For the other type of agreement — nonproprietary — DOE funds the Sandia researchers and the user funds its researchers. The results are shared openly.

DOE’s Under Secretary for Science Raymond Orbach says the new agreements simplify the process for gaining access to DOE facilities and promote the transfer of cutting-edge technologies from DOE national laboratories.

“This new approach will allow both university and industrial researchers greater access to our specialized, world-class facilities across the laboratory system and to work more closely with our scientists on real-world problems and potential solutions,” he says.

DOE has made Sandia’s Center for Integrated Nano-technologies (CINT) a designated science user facility. CINT will begin using the new proprietary and non-proprietary user agreements in the near future. For a number of other Sandia user facilities, known as Technology Deployment Centers (TDC), DOE is permitting the Labs to continue using the current User Facility Agreement (UFA). These include Advanced Battery Research, Engineering, & Evaluation Facility, Center for Security Systems, Combustion Research Facility, Design, Evaluation and Test Technology Facility, Electronic Technologies User Facility, Engineering Sciences Experimental Facilities (ESEF), Explosive Components Facility, Geomechanics Laboratory, Intelligent Systems and Robotics Center, Ion Beam Laboratory, Materials and Process Diagnostics Facility, Mechanical Test and Evaluation Facility, National Solar Thermal Test Facility (NSTTF), NUFAC Nuclear Facilities Resource Center, Photovoltaic Laboratories, Plasma Materials Test Facility, Primary Standards Laboratory, Pulsed Power and Systems Validation Facility, Radiation Detector Materials Characterization Laboratory, and the Shock Thermodynamic Applied Research Facility (STAR).

For more information about Sandia user facilities or for help in the selection of a user facility, contact Mary Monson at or 505-844-3289.

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