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research and development projects. • It is an important mindset for contractors to remember that they are guests in the client's facility—behave like a guest, be courteous, and always ask if unsure of how things are done. • The company contact probably will not tell contractors everything they need to know, but contractors will fill in the gaps quickly when they arrive on-site. • Clients may not fully grasp what it will take to accomplish what they perceive they need—which is likely to differ from what is in the approved project. • The contractor should not assume that all involved groups at the client’s site are fully informed about the project, and, thus, impromptu and planned meetings are important to keep everyone informed. • The contractor should not attempt to hinder ongoing tests, projects, or research being done in the rest of the facility. • When solving a process or production problem, the contractor should seek two people: the resident genius in the cluttered office, and the underappreciated production worker whom everyone goes to with issues. The contractor should ask them questions and listen to their answers—these individuals likely know the problem and might even suggest solutions. • Finally, contractors should not under-bid a project, but instead should carefully map out the detailed scope of work and estimate the required time— then double the time to make up for the unexpected. The client will hold the contractor to the plan and price, so the contractor should be sure to give a fair but realistic estimate. The research-for-hire concept offers notable benefits for companies without in-house research programs. Perhaps the most obvious benefit to the client is the knowledge and full attention of an expert to see through a well-defined project. At the same time, however, the company also minimizes its costs and risks. The primary beneficiaries of the research-for-hire concept are likely to be companies that want to test new ideas or material concepts—maybe even "blue sky" ideas—at a relatively low cost and quick timeline, with minimal impact on in-house resources. About the author Walter Sherwood, president of WJS Concepts LLC, founded Starfire Systems Inc. and worked on the team that developed the first commercially viable highpurity silicon carbide-forming polymer. Sherwood has more than two decades of experience developing and scaling-up production of more than a dozen commercially available high-temperature and preceramic polymers. He is an author of more than 12 papers and 14 patents related to high-temperature materials, preceramic polymers, and ceramic composites. Contact Sherwood at wsherwood@ wjsconceptsllc.com. n Technical Meeting and Exhibition MS&T 16 MATERIALS SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY SA LT PA LACE CONVENT ION CENTER | S A LT L A K E CITY, UTA H, U S A MATS C I TEC H.O RG/EXH I B ITS OCTOBER 24-26, 2016 RESERVE YOUR BOOTH by June 10 to Save $100! Contact a representative to reserve your space! Mona Thiel Cate Davidson Christina Sandoval Caron Gavrish (614) 794-5834 (724) 814-3092 (440) 338-5151 x 5625 (724) 814-3140 mthiel@ceramics.org cdavidson@aist.org Christina.Sandoval@asminternational.org cgavrish@tms.org Co-sponsored by: American Ceramic Society Bulletin, Vol. 95, No. 3 | www.ceramics.org 31


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