Dear Molecular Foundry Community,
As 2019 is drawing to a close, it is natural to take a look back. This year has been one filled with important and impressive milestones, as well as opportunities for the Molecular Foundry to grow and evolve. I am pleased to be a part of this exciting adventure with each of you.
The most significant milestone in 2019 was our Triennial Review in June. As you know, the Department of Energy (DOE) fully funds the Molecular Foundry, and once every three years, they conduct an in-depth review of the productivity, impact, and operations of our center. Over the course of a three-day onsite event with DOE and external reviewers, Foundry leadership, staff, and users presented the most impactful scientific breakthroughs, innovative programs, future opportunities and challenges, and operational developments from the past three years. Needless to say, preparation for this review required a significant amount of effort but it was also a valuable way to look back at the progress and success we have had. Our accomplishments are the product of the collaboration, creativity, and hard work of all of our staff and users – this is truly a full team effort and the success of the review is shared with every one of you.
Speaking of milestones, we have recently updated our Nanofacts for the 2019 fiscal year (Oct. 1, 2018 to Sept. 30, 2019) and among the many impressive numbers you will see is that the Foundry surpassed the 1,000 onsite users mark last year. One might reasonably ask what a healthy number of onsite users should be, given our current level of staffing and resources, however, I think we should recognize how impressive this number is in terms of broad impact across the global scientific community and the hard work and commitment this requires from our outstanding scientific, technical, and operations staff. I am proud of the team we have grown – both the veterans and the newly initiated – and am regularly impressed by their dedication to our mission and willingness to go above and beyond on a daily basis.
We have seen a number of familiar faces leave the Foundry this past year for new and exciting opportunities, which highlights the effectiveness of our user facility setting in developing professional expertise that is in high demand. At the same time, we are lucky to have recruited a number of highly talented staff to add to the broad diversity of ideas and disciplines at the Foundry. Our newest additions include Ricardo Ruiz, our new staff scientist in the Nanofabrication Facility, who joins us from Western Digital, and Kristen McIntosh, our new Administrator in the User Program Office.
This healthy process of growth and change allows us to constantly evolve and serve our dynamic user facility mission. I would welcome your help to spread the word about the Foundry, especially around new career opportunities, to ensure that we attract the most diverse pools of talent. Most notably, we have active searches for the next Molecular Foundry Director and the User Program Director, and anticipate recruitments to start soon for staff scientist positions in the Biological and Inorganic Facilities.
Your engagement is critical as the organization grows through the recruitment of new staff, but also as we collectively tackle new challenges, such as the recent electric power shutdowns. While the Foundry is limited in its ability to avoid or prevent these events, I am proud of the teamwork and active communication that has enabled us to minimize the impacts to our science and our equipment. Still, we appreciate how disruptive these shutdowns are and have been actively working with Lab, local, state, and federal officials to mitigate these events. Thank you for your understanding and we continue to welcome your feedback.
Engagement comes in many forms and we want to hear from our entire community at all times. One great way is through our User Executive Committee (UEC) which serves as the collective voice for our users. Elections are coming up and I encourage everyone’s participation.