Institutions, either for-profit or not-for-profit, should contact the nSoft Director (Ronald Jones, firstname.lastname@example.org, 301-975-4624) to inquire about membership opportunities. Interested parties will receive a statement of work for the given year, specifying the research priorities for nSoft. Interested parties are also encouraged to attend the public annual nSoft meeting, targeted for late summer of each year to learn more about nSoft, neutron characterization, and industrial engagement at NIST in general.
Institutions join the nSoft consortium by engaging in a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with NIST. The agreement is binding between NIST and the member, and does not include commitments between members. A sample member contract is provided at the bottom of this page, however interested parties are must begin by contacting the nSoft director to discuss the availability of membership and fit to the members needs. "For profit" institutions annually contribute $20,000 to participate in the consortium. "Not for profit" institutions contribute other resources, including research staff and materials.
As described in the "Member Benefits" section, the primary objective of nSoft is the transfer of expertise in neutron characterization methods for soft materials. However, in order to best achieve that objective, NIST will lead a research effort based on member engagement to develop the next generation of characterization methods targeted to high impact problems faced by the membership as a whole. It is important to remember that in contrast to many consortia, the nSoft member contract stipulates that the research program is entirely non-proprietary, and research executed within the consortium is led by and entirely under the control of NIST. The benefits achieved in this environment are outlined in the "Member Benefits" section of this webspace.
To preserve an optimal balance of member access to research activities and availability of resources, the consortium member contract limits membership to a maximum of 40 "for profit" institutions and 15 "not for profit" institutions on a first come, first served basis. Members may join at any time, and under some circumstances may have membership fees prorated. Details of membership can be found in the sample membership contract provided below.