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The nSoft Consortium

nSoft is a NIST-led consortium of industrial, government, and academic members designed to further the NIST mission to promote U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science and reducing barriers for industrial research programs at peer-review based user facilities. The inherent roadblocks of peer reviewed user facilities to industrial research programs are well documented.[1] Notable roadblocks include a lack of predictable and timely access, disparate research priorities between the broader scientific community and manufacturing, and the high cost of entry for institutions without existing expertise. Based on these identified roadblocks, the need for a new model of industrial engagement for user facilities is clear.

The nSoft Consortium operates in a new model of access for industrial research programs to federally funded research facilities such as the NIST Center for Neutron Research (NCNR). This model is being applied to collaboratively develop neutron-based measurement solutions for manufacturers of soft materials. Through engagement of its members in the planning, development, and execution of research programs, nSoft is providing (1) predictable and timely access to neutron facilities, (2) research and development programs focused on high impact issues in soft materials manufacturing, and (3) increased scientific capacity through training programs and collaborative activities. The consortium is led by the NIST Polymers Division, featuring a long history of service to the U.S. economy through advanced characterizations of soft materials, and the NIST Center for Neutron Research (NCNR), a world leading neutron facility.

 

[1] "Science for Energy Technology: Strengthening the Link between Basic Research and Industry", DOE BESAC Subcommittee on Science and Energy Policy, August 2010.

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