Access to the Foundry requires an approved user proposal and is granted at no cost for approved non-proprietary research with intent to publish. There are several types of proposals available, but Standard is the most common. Proposals are submitted through the User Portal and undergo peer review.
All proposals specify one of the Foundry’s seven research Facilities as the Lead Facility. Most proposal types also allow users to request access to additional Support Facilities.
Accepted proposals must be activated before users start work. Prior to activation, one of the users on the proposal must complete a safety questionnaire, which is then reviewed and must be approved by the Foundry Safety Manager. Activation also requires execution of separate User Agreements between Berkeley Lab and the home institutions of each user included on the proposal.
All proposals undergo an in-depth internal and external peer review. This review consists of an internal administrative and scientific feasibility review, internal safety review, and external evaluation by a Proposal Review Board composed of experts in the primary field of the proposed study.
The evaluation criteria used during peer review of Foundry proposals are based on criteria recommended by the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics for major user facilities: scientific merit; technical feasibility; impact on field of inquiry; and capabilities of the investigator(s).
Proposal Review Board
The Proposal Review Board (PRB) is an external body of subject-matter experts from various fields of nanoscience research, technology and industry. PRB members are nominated by the Molecular Foundry’s Facility Directors and serve by concurrence of the User Program Director. Members typically serve a term of at least two years.
The PRB meets twice a year to review Standard proposals submitted to the Molecular Foundry. Each proposal is assessed in four specific areas: scientific merit, project plan, need for the Molecular Foundry, and relevant experience. The Foundry accepts as many of the top-rated proposals as capacity allows. PRB members who are directly involved in a proposal or conflicted in any other way do not participate in the discussion or scoring of that proposal. Other proposal types are reviewed remotely, between PRB meetings.
Next Section: 2. Proposal Types