User Facilities are highly sophisticated experimental facilities that are available to researchers from universities, industry, and other government laboratories. They advance national research and development, and fulfill the U.S. Department of Energy missions by minimizing unnecessary duplication of effort, promoting beneficial scientific interactions, and making the most effective use of costly and, in many cases, unique equipment. A complete list of User Facilities with detailed descriptions and links can be found at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory User Facilities site.
Access to user facilities is a two-fold process. Prospective users submit research proposals directly to the facility of interest. Acceptance of proposals depends on scientific merit, suitability of the facility for the project, selection of an Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy Program collaborator, and appropriateness of the work to DOE objectives. Concurrently, a contractual agreement is executed between ORNL and the user institution. This User Facility Agreement, which can be either proprietary or nonproprietary, stipulates the terms and conditions (including disposition of intellectual property) for the project. Some facilities are available for nonproprietary research at no cost, while some facilities must recoup the actual costs incurred for staff and equipment time. More information can be found on the ORNL User Facility's Become a User page.