Dear Foundry Community,
As we greet the coming summer, we continue to welcome users back through our doors. It is true that COVID cases in our local community have increased recently and we are monitoring the situation. The world knows a lot more about the virus now than we did at the start of the pandemic and there’s a clear understanding of what actions are associated with elevated risk as well as what measures mitigate that risk. We will keep supporting our staff and users as each seeks to find a balance between safety, productivity, and well-being. Please reach out to us with any questions or concerns you might have.
Over the past few months, we have seen a steady increase in the number of people arriving for onsite work, as well as for other onsite events. We’ve hosted several VIPs for tours of the Foundry including members of the Secretary of Energy’s Advisory Board, UC Regent Janet Reilly, and the European Commission Vice President of Interinstitutional Relations. These have been great opportunities to share the story of the Foundry and demonstrate how our research is addressing critical needs. Earlier this month, we took advantage of our many hybrid conference rooms and brought much of our Proposal Review Board back onsite for the first time since 2019. Bringing back face-to-face discussions has been a key goal for our User Program, since the ease of debate and ability to better leverage each other’s expertise results in more thoughtful reviews. It was also great to reconnect with long-time PRB members and get to know new ones.
Our proposal submissions have been steadily increasing over the past two years, and I’m pleased to share that in this most recent call we received 258 proposals, with 205 accepted. These numbers show that there is still strong demand for the Foundry, and we are also seeing a renewed energy from our user community. There is excitement about getting into the lab this summer and it’s been wonderful to see a larger number of people frequenting our halls and labs.
Speaking of change, this summer will bring some changes to the Foundry team. In late summer, we will be welcoming two new staff to our Biological facility and also expect to announce the outcome of our technical staff search in the Organic facility. We also have some open recruitments, including a staff scientist in our Nanofabrication facility and an administrative assistant to join our operations team. On a bittersweet note, we will soon say goodbye to staff retiring after very long careers at Berkeley Lab: Christian Kisielowski, Andreas Schmid, and Ed Wong. They have each given a great deal to the Foundry and will be missed! As we wish them well, we also want to recognize the many student Foundry users who are graduating this season and congratulate them on their achievements.
In closing, I’d like to remind you that the Foundry’s Annual User Meeting will be held on August 18-19, 2022 with both in-person and virtual components, and registration is now open. I look forward to seeing many of you there.
All the best,