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Policy

DOE Upgrades User Facilities’ Contracts

by Rochelle F. H. Bohaty
November 3, 2008 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 86, ISSUE 44

On Oct. 27, the Department of Energy announced that it has streamlined access to user facilities, which offer researchers access to unique and expensive equipment and expertise, by making changes to technology transfer contracts. The new contracts clarify wording and provide a universal document that all DOE user facilities can employ. The two standardized contracts are designed to make it easier for university and industry scientists to use DOE’s research facilities. Under the proprietary agreement, users pay full cost for lab equipment use, and with limited exceptions, the researchers will retain all rights to the data and new inventions. For noncommercial and precompetitive research, researchers can use DOE’s equipment and collaborate with lab scientists under the nonproprietary agreement, but all data would be publicly available. The department hopes these contracts will speed up processing time, get researchers on-site, and increase collaborations. Researchers who already have contracts to use DOE facilities can expect the agreements to be executed as originally written.

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