DOE has developed two pre-approved, standardized contracts that will now make it easier for academia and industry to use its world-class research facilities.

One of the model contracts covers proprietary research, while the other addresses non-proprietary scientific investigations. Both are applicable at all designated DOE user facilities and labs, requiring minimal – if any – further negotiations, reports Raymond L. Orbach, the Department’s Technology Transfer Coordinator and Under Secretary of Science.

Orbach says more than 20,000 researchers currently take advantage of DOE’s research facilities each year, a figure the new, standardized contracts are expected to double as they simplify access to the Department’s nano-science research centers, synchrotron light sources, neutron scattering facilities, supercomputers and more.

A press release from Orbach’s office clarifies DOE’s objective in creating the contracts. “DOE recognizes the nation’s need to engage industry and universities in both basic science and commercial research, and seeks to encourage the use of its cutting-edge facilities to leverage DOE’s substantial investments in these research tools,” the release says.

Under the terms of the new contracts, those who conduct proprietary research for commercial purposes will “pay the full cost for use of specialized DOE laboratory equipment and, with limited exceptions, keep as proprietary the technical data produced as well as any new inventions.”

Those conducting non-commercial or basic research and utilizing the non-proprietary contract will pay “only the costs of its own research with the DOE laboratory and may access specialized laboratory equipment and collaborate with laboratory scientists,” the release notes, adding that non-proprietary research will be “publicly available.”

The “Access to High Technology User Facilities at DOE National Laboratories” page on DOE’s website includes copies of the model agreements, together with a list of the 34 DOE designated user facilities.