How SSURF is a Resource to the User Community

The Society for Science at User Research Facilities provides users at federal Research Facilities with connections, updates & insights to nurture their projects and spotlight their successes.

We Provide Users with Facility News, Events and Connections
& Spotlight Your Research

The Society for Science at User Research Facilities strives to help Users by providing the most up-to-date insights, best practices and connections across the nation’s network of user facilities. 

SSURF organizes and participates in a variety of activities that benefit members of the User community including:

  • Our Annual Meeting with users and user facility scientists, thought leaders and experts providing crucial peer insights.
  • Virtual roundtables and webinars on user facility best practices and issue updates with federal officials. 
  • Updates via newsletters and social media on calls for proposals, facility operations status and User Executive Committee activities.
  • Opportunities to participate in SSURF visits to Congressional offices.
  • Users can engaging in SSURF volunteer Committee opportunities to help with SSURF programming, advocacy and communications. 
  • Spotlighting of your facility’s events, news, and job listings on, on social media platforms
  • Highlighting user facility discoveries, key programs and concerns via in-person advocacy meetings.
  • Opportunities for SSURF-hosted socials coordinated with user facility events to enhance informal, in-person user networking. 

What is a User Facility?  

A User Facility is a federally sponsored research facility available for external use to advance scientific or technical knowledge under the following conditions:

  • The facility is open to all interested potential users without regard to nationality or institutional affiliation.
  • Allocation of facility resources is determined by merit review of the proposed work.
    User fees are not charged for non-proprietary work if the user intends to publish the research results in the open literature.
  • Full cost recovery is required for proprietary work.
  • The facility provides resources sufficient for users to conduct work safely and efficiently.
  • The facility supports a formal user organization to represent the users and facilitate sharing of information, forming collaborations, and organizing research efforts among users.
  • The facility capability does not compete with an available private sector capability.
For more specific details about User protocols and agreements, check Office of the U.S, Dept. of Energy General Counsel’s Access to High Technology User Facilities at DOE National Laboratories.

Who is a “User”?

A “user” in the context of the U.S. government research laboratory ecosystem are those who who are leveraging the incredible technologies and resources at U.S. federally-funded scientific user facilities. Users can be any person or group – often academics or private sector technologists, from anywhere around the globe. 

Prospective users may propose independent or collaborative research; proposals are typically evaluated for scientific merit by independent proposal review committees or panels, and for feasibility and safety by the facility, with those proposals that are most compelling being accepted and allocated time. There is no charge for users who are doing non-proprietary work, with the understanding that they are expected to publish their results. Access is also available on a cost-recovery basis for proprietary research that is not intended for publication. 

Get Connected with U.S. Dept. of Energy User Facilities

Each user facility provides detailed information for new and returning users on the process of submitting a proposal and gaining access.  Some facilities allow for provisional rapid access. However since early 2020 the impacts of COVID-19 on each facility’s access protocols mean it is important to check for the latest information for user options. (Source: U.S. Dept. of Energy Office of Science)

Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR)

The ASCR program leads the nation and the world in supercomputing, high-end computational science, and advanced networking for science.

FacilityHost InstitutionGetting Started
National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC)LBNLUser Info
Argonne Leadership Computing Facility (ALCF)ANLUser Info
Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF)ORNLUser Info
Energy Sciences Network (ESnet)LBNLUser Info

Basic Energy Sciences (BES)

Basic Energy Sciences supports fundamental research to understand, predict, and ultimately control matter and energy at the electronic, atomic, and molecular levels in order to provide the foundations for new energy technologies and to support DOE missions in energy, environment, and national security. The BES program also plans, constructs, and operates major scientific user facilities to serve researchers from universities, national laboratories, and private institutions. 

FacilityHost InstitutionGetting Started
X-Ray Light Sources
Advanced Light Source (ALS)LBNLUser Info
Advanced Photon Source (APS)ANLUser Info
Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS)SLACUser Info
National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II)BNLUser Info
Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Light Source (SSRL)SLACUser Info
Neutron Scattering Facilities
High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR)ORNLUser Info
Spallation Neutron Source (SNS)ORNLUser Info
Nanoscale Science Research Centers (NSRCs)
Center for Functional Nanomaterials (CFN)BNLUser Info
Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies (CINT)Sandia / LANLUser Info
Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences (CNMS)ORNLUser Info
Center for Nanoscale Materials (CNM)ANLUser Info
The Molecular Foundry (MF)LBNLUser Info

Biological and Environmental Research (BER)

The BER program supports transformative science and scientific user facilities to achieve a predictive understanding of complex biological, earth, and environmental systems for energy and infrastructure security, independence, and prosperity. The program seeks to understand the biological, biogeochemical, and physical processes that span from molecular and genomics-controlled scales to the regional and global scales that govern changes in watershed dynamics, climate, and the earth system.

FacilityHost InstitutionGetting Started
Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL)PNNLUser Info
Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Climate Research Facility (ARM)Global networkUser info
Joint Genome Institute (JGI)LBNLUser Info

Fusion Energy Sciences (FES)

The pursuit of fusion energy embraces the challenge of bringing the energy-producing power of a star to earth for the benefit of humankind. The promise is enormous—an energy system whose fuel is obtained from seawater and from plentiful supplies of lithium in the earth, whose resulting radioactivity is modest, and which yields zero carbon emissions to the atmosphere. With the support of FES, a devoted, expert, and innovative scientific and engineering workforce has been responsible for the impressive progress in harnessing fusion energy since the earliest fusion experiments over sixty years ago. As a result, we are on the verge of a new age in fusion science during which researchers will undertake fundamental tests of fusion energy’s viability. 

FacilityHost InstitutionGetting Started
DIII-D TokamakGeneral AtomicsUser Info
National Spherical Torus Experiment – Upgrade (NSTX)PPPLUser Info

High Energy Physics (HEP)

The field of high energy physics is guided by intertwined science drivers to explore the elementary constituents of matter and energy, the interactions between them, and the nature of space and time. The Office of High Energy Physics (HEP) executes its mission through a program that advances three frontiers of experimental scientific discovery and related efforts in theory and computing. HEP develops new accelerator, detector and computational tools to enable the science, and through Accelerator Stewardship works to make accelerator technology widely available to science and industry.

FacilityHost InstitutionGetting Started
Fermilab Accelerator ComplexFNALUser Info
Facility for Advanced Accelerator Experimental Tests (FACET)SLACUser Info
Accelerator Test Facility (ATF)BNLUser Info

Nuclear Physics (NP)

Through research, nuclear physicists are leading us on a journey of discovery into the nucleus of the atom – the very heart of matter. The goal is a roadmap of matter that will help unlock the secrets of how the universe is put together. This quest requires a broad approach to different, but related, scientific frontiers: improving our understanding of the building blocks of matter; discovering the origins of nuclei; and identifying the forces that transform matter. Stewardship of the field is shared with the National Science Foundation (NSF’s) Nuclear Physics Program. DOE and NSF fund almost all basic research in Nuclear Physics.

FacilityHost InstitutionGetting Started
Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility (CEBAF)TJNAFUser Info
Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC)BNLUser Info
Argonne Tandem Linac Accelerator System (ATLAS)ANLUser Info


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