Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory

A DOE Office of Science User Facility

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Facilities Integrating Collaborations for User Science (FICUS)

Combining scientific resources for greater scientific impactFICUS logo

Facilities Integrating Collaborations for User Science, or FICUS, is an program that encourages the scientific community to propose novel ways for user facilities to work together. FICUS began as a joint call for proposals in 2013 between EMSL and the Joint Genome Institute, or JGI. It focused on DOE missions in bioenergy and the environment and combined EMSL's unique imaging, omics and computational resources with cutting-edge genomics at JGI.

The goal is to encourage and enable scientists to conduct fundamental science experiments in ways they couldn't with projects undertaken separately at either user facility. Before this, researchers had to apply to each facility with separate review schedules and selection processes. By working together and coordinating experimental schedules and datasets, we can exponentially increase the possible results for users. Read about our past and current JGI-EMSL FICUS projects and see a list of publications.

Expanding FICUS to include other user facilities resulted in a joint call for proposals in early 2016 between DOE's Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) user facility and EMSL. Because operational plans were already established for that year, both facilities agreed to a small pilot call that could utilize resources at an existing ARM site and grant access on an accelerated review schedule. The call focused on research topics in atmospheric aerosol science that took advantage of both the analytical instrumentation and capabilities in EMSL and the infrastructure and observational capabilities of ARM at the Southern Great Plains site in Oklahoma. Read about the EMSL-ARM FICUS projects and see a list of publications.

Results from FICUS projects have been positive, and with the number of researchers needing access to the capabilities at multiple facilities, additional user facilities may be included. With the opportunity to pursue one research project at two or more institutions under FICUS, scientists can use additional resources, shave years off project times and amplify the impact of their work. 

To learn more about the science resulting from our FICUS projects, see a list of news highlights.