The “Facilities Integrating Collaborations for User Science” (FICUS) initiative was established in 2014 to encourage and enable researchers to more easily integrate the expertise and capabilities of multiple user facilities stewarded by the Department of Energy Office of Science into their research. In recognition of the increasingly collaborative and multidisciplinary nature of DOE mission science projects, this initiative aims to encourage innovative research exploiting a range of capabilities. The first FICUS call for proposals was a joint effort of the JGI and the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL), focused on combining cutting-edge genomics at DOE JGI with EMSL’s unique imaging, omics and computational resources to address DOE missions in bioenergy and the environment.
Previously researchers had to apply to each facility with separate review schedules and selection processes, making it difficult to propose projects that truly integrated the capabilities of more than one facility. The FICUS initiative not only simplifies and streamlines this process, but enables scientists to conduct fundamental science experiments in ways they couldn’t with projects undertaken separately at either user facility. Future calls are expected to continue to expand the range of facilities and capabilities accessible through the program.