Proposal Types

General User Proposal

The Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences (CNMS) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) solicits proposals twice per year for user-initiated nanoscience research that will make effective use of CNMS facilities and staff expertise. The CNMS nanoscience research program provides users with access to a broad range of capabilities for nanomaterials design, synthesis, characterization, and theory/modeling/simulation in order to carry out studies that will significantly advance our understanding of nanoscale phenomena and develop functional nanomaterials systems. Access is provided at no cost to users for research that is in the public domain and intended for publication in the open literature. Access is for a 12-month period. 

Scientifically high-impact proposals are sought that take advantage of any of the CNMS research capabilities listed below. In particular, prospective users are encouraged to submit proposals that utilize and exploit synergies of research capabilities in two or more of the areas listed below, and proposers of experimental nanoscience research are encouraged to request theory/modeling/simulation collaborations as appropriate. Visit the Capabilities section of the CNMS website to learn more.

In some occasions, users may wish to partner with the CNMS in order to enhance CNMS capabilities.  Partners users are individuals or groups who not only carry out research at an NSRC but also enhance the capabilities or contribute to the operation of the Center. Typically, they develop the facility instrumentation in some way, bringing outside financial and/or intellectual capital into the evolution of the NSRC, or contribute to the operation of equipment and facilities in a way that benefits both the Partner User and the CNMS. These contributions must be made available to the General Users and so benefit them as well as the facility. In recognition of their investment of either resources or intellectual capital and in order to facilitate and encourage their involvement, Partners may be allocated limited access to one or more facilities over a period of several years, with the possibility of renewal. Partner scientific programs are subject to the same peer review process as General Users.

Partner User Proposal

Partners are individuals or groups who not only carry out research at an NSRC but also enhance the capabilities or contribute to the operation of the Center. Typically they develop the facility instrumentation in some way, bringing outside financial and/or intellectual capital into the evolution of the NSRC, or contribute to the operation of equipment and facilities. These contributions must be made available to the General Users and so benefit them as well as the facility. In recognition of their investment of either resources or intellectual capital and in order to facilitate and encourage their involvement, Partners may be allocated limited access to one or more facilities over a period of several years, with the possibility of renewal. Partner scientific programs are subject to the same peer review process as General Users.

Rapid Access User Proposal

The CNMS accepts Rapid Access user proposals for expedited peer review that request support for time-sensitive studies and require only a limited amount of CNMS resources, typically not more than 5 days.

Rapid Access proposals may be submitted “off-cycle” between scheduled proposal calls and may be approved at any time at the discretion of the CNMS Director. A Rapid Access proposal is especially appropriate for a relatively quick and straightforward experiment in a rapidly advancing field or for a proof-of-concept (feasibility) study intended to support a subsequent regular user proposal. A Rapid Access proposal may also request access to certain basic characterization facilities at CNMS using time that is not otherwise allocated to General User proposals. Special consideration will be given to user projects that have been approved by other ORNL user facilities on the basis of external peer review; in such cases, CNMS may accept the existing peer reviews and the content of the CNMS proposal may be limited to explaining how access to CNMS would further the objective of the ongoing user project and estimate of the additional CNMS time required.

Instructions for submitting a Rapid Access proposal are the same as for a regular proposal call except that the submitter should be sure to include the phrase “Rapid Access proposal” in the subject line of the transmittal email and include the justification for requesting Rapid Access in the proposal.

Please contact the CNMS User Program Manager if you would like additional information and guidance for submitting a Rapid Access user proposal. 

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