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Principles Related to the Use and Operation of National Science Foundation-Supported Research Instrumentation and Facilities -Important Notice Number 122 June 16, 1998 NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION Office of the Director Arlington, VA 22230


June 16, 1998

Principles Related to the Use and Operation of National Science Foundation-Supported Research Instrumentation and Facilities

At its 346th meeting on November 13, 1997, the National Science Board amended the "Principles Related to NSF-Supported Research Instrumentation and Facilities," which it had approved in 1983, to make them consistent with government-wide policy. Specifically, the last sentence of the Principles was amended to incorporate a reference to Office of Management and Budget Circular A-110, Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Agreements with Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals, and Other Non-Profit Organizations, as revised in November 1993. Sections __.34(b) and __.35(b) of A-110 respectively bar use of equipment and supplies "acquired with Federal funds to provide services to non-Federal outside organizations for a fee that is less than private companies charge for equivalent services, unless specifically authorized by Federal statute, for as long as the Federal government retains an interest in the equipment." The revised Principles now state: The National Science Foundation seeks the maximum productive use of the Nation's scientific instrumentation and research expertise. Ensuring that the highest quality instrumentation, facilities, and services are available to scientific users, both academic and industrial, is a key requirement, as are harmonious relations and cooperation between industry and universities. Private research and testing laboratories, as well as university, government, and industrial laboratories, have a contribution to make. The National Science Board recognizes that there may be circumstances where NSF grantees use NSF-supported research instrumentation to provide services in commerce for a fee, to an extent that such practice, (1) detracts from the performance of their obligation under the grant, and/or (2) may have a material and deleterious effect on the success of private companies engaged in the provision of equivalent services. It is contrary to the NSF's intent for grantees to use NSF-supported research instrumentation or facilities to provide services for a fee in competition with private companies in a manner

that is prohibited by OMB Circular A-110. NSF has already implemented this policy through its Grant General Conditions (GC-1), the Federal Demonstration Partnership General Conditions and appropriate award language in agreements with its Federally funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs). The Grant Policy Manual (GPM) 544 is revised to read: 544 Principles Relating to the Use of NSF-supported Research Instrumentation and Facilities The following principles on use of NSF-supported instrumentation and facilities were adopted by the National Science Board: [Text of Principles: See above.]

Grantees should implement those principles and related grant conditions in a reasonable manner. Grantees are expected to provide fair and adequate consideration of any complaints about use of instrumentation and facilities. (GPM Exhibit V-1 is to be deleted.) NSF encourages organizations with concerns about specific institutional practices to contact the grantee institution before contacting NSF. If an organization still feels that OMB Circular A-110, as implemented in NSF award conditions, is not being followed, information detailing the concerns should be sent to Donald Senich, Senior Advisor, Office of Small Business Research and Development/Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization, National Science Foundation, Room 527, 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22230.

Neal Lane Director Replaces Important Notice 91, dated March 11, 1983 Expires: Upon revision of Grant Policy Manual