. "Executive Summary." Cooperative Stewardship: Managing the Nation's Multidisciplinary User Facilities for Research with Synchrotron Radiation, Neutrons, and High Magnetic Fields. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 1999.
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COOPERATIVE STEWARDSHIP: Managing the Nation’s Multidisciplinary User Facilities for Research with Synchrotron Radiation, Neutrons, and High Magnetic Fields
investment that is shared by the facilities, other federal agencies, industry, and private institutions. The facilities represent a large and continuing investment of U.S. resources, and their ultimate owner —the public—expects maximum returns in terms of scientific and technological achievements. This investment has indeed paid off handsomely for the public for several decades.
Facility management and financing have evolved over the years, and most facilities are now managed with what might be termed the “steward-partner model.” In this model, a single government agency (the steward) manages and funds a facility core, while the individual experimental units where research is conducted are managed and funded either by the steward or by other federal agencies, industry, or private institutions (the partners). When their missions and interests coincide, the steward and the users often receive support from similar sources and approach use of the facilities with similar backgrounds, experience, and expectations. This coincidence of interests and experience enables the steward-partner model to satisfactorily provide facility resources to the scientific community.
As discussed in Chapter 2, because of the growing number and diversity of users (Figure ES.1) and financial constraints, the missions, interests, and experience of the steward and users no longer coincide. In particular, at synchrotron facilities the number of users carrying out research in the life sciences has increased significantly. Because the life sciences are largely outside the traditional missions of the facility stewards, and because many of the new users require more facility and staff support than the traditional users, this growth has raised questions about the identity of the appropriate stewards and sources of facility funding. Financial constraints have also impeded funding for state-of-the-art instrumentation at the neutron facilities, so much so that some neutrons produced by the cores may not be optimally used (BESAC, 1993).
Conducted to explore strategies for addressing changing patterns of facilities use and their implications for facilities management to support scientific research, this study discusses several key issues:
Adequacy of funding. In the last decade, growth in the numbers of both facilities and users has strained the budgets of funding agencies. While ad hoc methods have provided additional operating funds for the facilities, the funding agencies still struggle to upgrade and run the facilities while maintaining support for their traditional mission area research programs at efficient levels.
Stability of funding. Currently a single steward has the responsibility for funding and maintaining each core facility. Because of the broadening of the user communities, there is pressure to expand the sources of core funding. However, history has demonstrated that if core operations and maintenance become dependent on dispersed funding, the entire facility operation may be threatened by the reduction or withdrawal of support by a single component.