The National User Facility Organization (NUFO) represents the interests of all users who conduct research at U.S. national scientific user facilities, as well as scientists from U.S. universities, laboratories, and industry who use facilities outside the United States. NUFO facilitates communication among users, user organizations, facility administrators, and other stakeholders. Discussion topics include the benefits and significance of research conducted at user facilities, as well as their operational needs. NUFO seeks to provide a unified message at the national level on issues of resources for science, economic competitiveness, and education for the next-generation scientific workforce. NUFO is organized into two major branches: User Organization Representatives and User Administrators. User Organizations focus primarily on outreach activities, whereas User Administrators focus on streamlining processes to facilitate access. Both branches work together closely to fulfill the overall NUFO mission.
This organization was initially founded in 1990 as a means to open avenues of communication between the four Department of Energy synchrotron light sources–the National Synchrotron Light Source, the Advanced Light Source, the Advanced Photon Source, and the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Light Source. It has since expanded to include users of the majority of federally funded United States national scientific user facilities, as well as users working outside the United States.
User Organization Representatives: Each user facility is asked to appoint to NUFO one user representative, who is typically–but not necessarily–the current Chair of the facility user organization or user executive committee.
User Administrators: Each user facility is asked to appoint to NUFO one user administrator.
General Members: Anyone who is currently or has been associated with a national facility, or is strongly interested in these facilities may ask to become a General Member of NUFO. General Members receive regular communications, are eligible to be Outreach Contacts, serve as appointed members of the NUFO Steering Committee, and are invited to attend annual meetings. General Members do not vote on nominees for Steering Committee membership or charter changes.
The Steering Committee conducts the business of NUFO between annual meetings and consists of nine elected members and several appointed members. Three new Steering Committee members are elected each year for three-year terms: A vice-chair, a vice-coordinator, and an elected member. Current or former user representatives or general members closely associated with NUFO are eligible for election as vice-chair. Current or former user administrators are eligible for election as vice-coordinator.
The elected member can be from either constituency. In the second year of service, the vice-chair and vice-coordinator will become chair and coordinator. For the third year of service, the designations shall be past-chair and past-coordinator.
Additional members, as needed, will be appointed annually by the Steering Committee for renewable terms. To assure effective communication, including with any institution that manages NUFO accounts, an experienced user administrator shall be appointed as Executive Administrator.
The Steering Committee is authorized to appoint advisors or facilitators as needed. Advisors/facilitators need not be members of NUFO.
Prior to June 30 of each year, by electronic ballot, a new vice-chair, vice-coordinator, and one elected member, shall be elected by the user organization representatives and user administrators representing each facility. The terms and positions of the newly elected individuals will start or change on July 1 and end on June 30. Nominees for each category shall be solicited from the membership.. There shall be no limit to the number of three-year terms that an individual may serve. In the event that any member cannot complete his/her term, the Steering Committee can appoint a new member to fill the vacancy.
During the transition to an incorporated status (see Section D), the current Steering Committee members were invited to serve as an ongoing Operations Committee. No elections will be held during the incorporation phase.
D. Funding and Organizational Structure
NUFO is currently an unincorporated organization, with funding from the National Laboratories that house user facilities or from the facilities themselves if they are not affiliated with a National Laboratory. During the NUFO year beginning on June 1, 2014, the NUFO Steering Committee began preparations to incorporate as a 501(c)(3) entity. An Incorporation Subcommittee, has been established and will report regularly to the Steering Committee, as well as the members of NUFO (administrators, user representatives, and general). The intention is to conclude the incorporation process no later than June 1, 2015.
E. Affiliation and Sponsorships
The NUFO Steering Committee may authorize affiliation with organizations having similar goals and with sponsors who provide member benefits, such as free presentations and relevant information to NUFO members, discounts for beneficial services, and permission to announce sponsorship of NUFO in promotional materials.
Meetings are held annually, with the meeting location rotating among the member facilities. All members of NUFO, as well as interested parties, are welcome to attend. Meetings are organized by the Steering Committee, in cooperation with the NUFO voting members and others at the hosting institution.
Proposed changes shall be brought first to the Steering Committee, which will present them electronically to Voting Members The passage of revisions to this Charter during the process of incorporation shall only require a two-thirds majority of elected Steering Committee members.
Approved October 26, 2015