Argonne National Laboratory

Proprietary facility users at the Center for Nanoscale Materials (CNM) may keep their research results private and may retain title to their inventions; government rights are extremely limited in this case.

To conduct proprietary research at CNM, follow these guidelines:

Obtain a non-disclosure agreement. If your user proposal contains proprietary information please contact the CNM User Office prior to submitting your user proposal and a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) will be put in place before the proposal is peer-reviewed by Argonne staff. Otherwise, the NDA can be requested after the proposal is submitted or allocated.

Submit a user proposal. Follow step-by-step instructions on how to submit your user proposal. Access to the CNM is granted via a peer-reviewed proposal system. In your user proposal, be sure to estimate needed tool time for each tool that will be used. The tool time includes the necessary staff time to train the proprietary user and give basic support. If extra staff time is requested (e.g., for help with data processing/interpretation), please list the estimated hours separately. This information will be used to determine the cost of the proposed research.

Select “Proprietary” on your User Agreement. Once you’ve submitted your user proposal, verify that a User Agreement is in place. A legally-signed User Agreement, which details intellectual property and other rights, must be in place with your home institution prior to the start of work at CNM. On the Argonne User Facility Agreement Questionnaire, ensure that you check “Proprietary” under User Agreement Details. Once this is complete, continue through the process of preparing for your arrival at CNM.

Set up a pre-paid account. After your proposal has been accepted and before any research activities can start, a pre-paid account has to be established. This process takes usually between six to eight weeks and should be started early enough to prevent any delays. Please contact the CNM User Office for detailed information on the cost structure.

Cost Recovery Rates

The CNM has a three-tier rate structure that reflects major groups of scientific instruments according to their degree of complexity, value, and annual maintenance cost. Proprietary rates are determined annually at the beginning of each fiscal year. For proprietary projects that utilize CNM facilities across multiple fiscal years, rates may change in accordance with CNM operating budgets and/or with changes in laboratory indirect expense rates. No proprietary work will begin until an advance payment from the user is received.

The service units charged for a proprietary user project are generally the hours of facility time used. Other activity bases are possible on specific instruments. For example, usage of the CNM High Performance Computing Cluster is based on computer cycles rather than facility hours. Please contact the CNM User Office for specific rates.

Potential additional charges for proprietary users include:

  • Materials, supplies, parts, services and repairs that are occasioned by the specific user proposal that are over and above the normal levels generally provided to all users.
  • Incremental scientific and technical staff effort specifically assigned to support special instruments and processes beyond the normal levels generally provided to users.