Irvine Division Creates Lab Faculty Oversight Committee

By Anna Lynn Spitzer,

San Diego, CA, November 30, 2006 -- Calit2@UCI has convened a new faculty committee to oversee and provide academic research perspective for the institute's four materials characterization facilities, collectively known as the Materials Characterization and Fabrication Facilities (MCF2).

Top row (l-r): Mumm, Tang. Bottom row (l-r): Collins, Burke, Summers

The faculty oversight committee, chaired by Daniel Mumm, assistant professor of chemical engineering and materials science, will meet regularly to ensure that the facilities represent the interests of researchers from a wide range of departments, from physical and biological sciences to engineering and health sciences. Committee members will determine and monitor all lab policies and procedures to ensure that the labs are easily accessible to diverse users and that they continue to contain the necessary equipment to support the campus's research mission.

The four materials characterization facilities include the Zeiss Center of Excellence, the Polymer Characterization Lab, the clean rooms within the Calit2 Building, and the Materials Characterization Center in the Engineering Tower. Guidelines will be established for recharge rates, staffing needs and responsibilities, user education and certification standards, and access criteria for lab users.

"The goal is to make sure the facilities remain fully equipped and accessible to campus users - faculty, students and post-doctoral researchers - as well as off-campus academic and industry users," said Mumm.

Committee members include Bill Tang, professor of biomedical engineering; Adam Summers, assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology; Peter Burke, assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science; and Phil Collins, assistant professor of physics and astronomy.

Among its other responsibilities, the committee will work with Calit2 and MCF2 staff to develop workshops and other outreach events, and implement them as a way to keep campus departments and industry partners informed about the labs' capabilities and future development initiatives. In addition, in an effort to keep the labs properly equipped with state-of-the-art instrumentation, the committee will organize campus-wide efforts to encourage faculty to submit new instrument funding proposals to the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense and other government agencies.

The oversight committee is also responsible for assisting in the development of coursework for university classes in micro-analysis, materials characterization and electron microscopy. These courses will prepare students to use the MCF2 labs in their research.

"We want to serve as a conduit for faculty input into how the materials characterization labs develop and serve the research community," Mumm said. "It's extremely important that the requirements and wishes of all faculty members are addressed, and that the all of the schools and departments across campus play a role in advancing the facilities. We hope to ensure that all of the labs have proper staffing, necessary training protocols, sufficient funding, and superior equipment."