Summary and Info
In recent years, the instrumentation needs of the nation’s research communities have changed and expanded. The need for particular instruments has become broader, crossing scientific and engineering disciplines. The growth of interdisciplinary research that focuses on problems defined outside the boundaries of individual disciplines demands more instrumentation. Instruments that were once of interest only to specialists are now required by a wide array of scientists to solve critical research problems. The need for entirely new types of instruments—such as distributed networks, cybertools, and sensor arrays—is increasing. Researchers are increasingly dependent on advanced instruments that require highly specialized knowledge and training for their proper operation and use. The National Academies Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy Committee on Advanced Research Instrumentation was asked to describe the current programs and policies of the major federal research agencies for advanced research instrumentation, the current status of advanced mid-sized research instrumentation on university campuses, and the challenges faced by each. The committee was then asked to evaluate the utility of existing federal programs and to determine the need for and, if applicable, the potential components of an interagency program for advanced research instrumentation.
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