Lab Information

General information

Any lab in the United States or its territories can become a participating lab at any point in the program by providing a brief (1-2 page) written summary that describes how a student will use the facility and the research and learning experiences a student should expect when visiting (see section 2.3). The lab name, contact information, and lab plan will be posted on the Participating lab database page to help students connect with potential host facilities (http://www.earthscope.org/science/geochronology/participating-labs).
Interested students will initiate contact with a participating lab to discuss a potential project, including timelines and why this particular technique will help address the fundamental questions in their research proposal. If the lab director feels that this is a mutually beneficial opportunity, the lab will help the student refine and clarify their proposed research and provide a support letter for this specific project.
Labs are under no obligation to collaborate on a project if approached by a student. If the lab director decides that the project is not a good fit, then the lab is encouraged to suggest alternate labs that may be more interested in or more appropriate for the project. Different labs that use the same dating tool commonly specialize in specific techniques and problems, so certain projects may be better suited for some labs than others.

 

Limits on proposals and awards per lab

If desired, labs can support up to 4 proposals in a given application cycle. However, participating labs will receive no more than 2 awards in a given year. If the lab is already supporting a project that received an EarthScope AGeS award the previous year, then the lab will be limited to 1 award in the current proposal cycle.

 

Lab Educational Plan

Although individual plans and experiences can vary significantly, labs should try to provide a realistic overview of the sort of research and learning experiences a student should expect when visiting the lab. The program is not meant to fund contract work. The brief written summary that describes how a student will use the facility must include the following information:

  • Provide a brief overview of the laboratory facilities available for student use.
  • Give a realistic time frame for a student visit that includes training, sample preparation, and facility usage. If a technique requires special steps that take significant amounts of time (e.g., sample irradiation), the lab outline must discuss plans to address this given the limited timeframe of a student visit.
  • Provide a complete list of costs and expenses for lab use that a student would be expected to budget when writing their grant proposal, such as equipment, training, sample processing, and sample analysis. We expect individual student grants to average ~$8,500, and be no more than $10,000. These costs include travel support for the student. The laboratory-related expenses will be paid directly by invoice to Professor Ramon Arrowsmith, School of Earth and Space Exploration, Arizona State University
  • Describe what a student needs to accomplish prior to visiting and what materials should be brought for the visit. In particular, address what type of samples a student should have when they arrive, and whether or not they need to do any sample processing, data preparation, or additional training before working in the lab.
  • List which laboratory staff will be in charge of training and overseeing the student while they are working in the lab.
  • Discuss the processes required for data reduction and interpretation, and how laboratory staff will help advise these steps.
  • Estimate the average waiting time for lab use. Can a lab typically fit a visitor in quickly, or should a student schedule time 6 months or more in advance?
  • List the name(s) and email address(es) of lab personnel who should be contacted by students interested in initiating a new collaboration.

Please visit our Lab Submission Form  to submit your lab.

 

Assessment

To better assess the program activity and outcomes, we are carrying out several surveys that are required of all funded students and labs, as well as potentially of applicants that were not funded. Responses to these assessments are essential for evaluating the overall effectiveness of the program. The results are being used to improve the program and will be a factor in NSF's decision whether to continue supporting it in the future.

 

Example Lab Plans