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User Information

Laboratory Philosophy

We encourage the participation of users in all aspects of data collection, including sample preparation, clean laboratory work, sample analyses and data reduction and interpretation. Our goal is to train each user to collect and analyze data independently and thus we provide extensive training of individual users. We also invest heavily in the development and constant refinement of cutting-edge new techniques that will be widely used across a variety of different research areas.

Because of our investment in technique development and training, we encourage collaborative research involving the faculty and staff associated with the facility. Collaborative research, where facility scientists contribute to project design, analysis, interpretation and co-author publications is likely to result in a more meaningful user experience and most importantly, higher quality results.

We do not generally accept contract work because of the extensive amount of time such work would require.

Procedures for conducting research in the Facility

Given the challenging technical nature of isotopic and many elemental analyses, we suggest that the Principal Investigator of the project contact the facility well in advance of starting a project. This will help to ensure that samples are collected according to our criteria and are thus suitable for analysis in the laboratory and that we have the capability to facilitate the proposed research

Research that is being proposed to an internal or external funding agency must also receive approval by the Executive Board. This is again to ensure that the type of samples, the sample collection, level of support and the proposed analyses are appropriate given our current capabilities. Upon approval, a letter of support will be issued to the Principal Investigator.

Project Review Process

In order to ensure the success of research conducted in the laboratory, we require project proposals to be submitted using the on-line form. Proposals will be reviewed by the Executive Board at the beginning of each academic quarter and successful projects will be notified shortly thereafter. The questions on the proposal are directly related to the established criteria for evaluating projects. Some additional information is provided below.

Potential research projects are evaluated according to the following 5 criteria:

  1. Is the project currently feasible in laboratory?
  2. What training will the student, postdoc or researcher require from faculty and staff that are not their primary advisor?
  3. Is the project a substantial portion of a student's or postdoc's research? How much additional time will the student spend in the laboratory beyond their training period?
  4. Is there appropriate space and workstations for the work?
  5. Is the project appropriately funded to cover the cost of materials and instrument operation time?

Potential research projects will prioritized according to a multi-tiered system:

  • Tier 1: Instrument use only;
  • Tier 2: Routine clean laboratory and instrument use;
  • Tier 3: Technique development.

Tier 1 projects require no clean laboratory access. Tier 2 and 3 projects will be assigned one workstation in the clean lab to be used appropriately and in accordance with the laboratory rules by all project participants. Instrument time will be allotted according to the availability of trained personnel to assist with operation.

Finally, if you have questions about any of the above or the proposal review form, please contact either the Facility Manager, Karrie Weaver, or the Facility Director, Kate Maher.