Payload Protocol


The Center for Geotechnical Modeling (CGM) supports the idea of payload tests where independent secondary experiments can be completed relatively simply and efficiently within the context of a larger primary experiment. The CGM will facilitate payload projects by supporting collaboration and interaction between the multiple parties involved, as described herein.

The confined space, high g-field, and dense complexity of typical experiments on the 9-m centrifuge means that accommodation of payload projects generally increases the complexity of the primary experiment and puts additional burden on the primary project's PI and researchers. For this reason, the successful execution of a payload project will require active cooperation between the lead experiment team and the payload experiment team, along with support from the sponsors of both projects, the NHERI Network Coordination Office (NCO), and the CGM. This expectation of cooperation will likely be outlined contractually in a multi-participant research agreement.

A list of NSF-sponsored projects using the CGM and the upcoming test schedule at the CGM are listed online by the NCO. Primary project PIs share the details of their experiment with DesignSafe-CI for posting on the NHERI website so that the community is informed of opportunities for payload projects.

The CGM and the primary project PI can review payload proposals only for technical feasibility and financial impact on the existing work.

  1. Researchers interested in performing a payload project should identify a technically feasible host project for their experiment and submit a payload proposal to the CGM for consideration.
  2. The CGM will review the payload proposal for technical feasibility, obvious impacts on the primary experiment, and estimated impacts to schedule. If it rates the proposal as feasible, the CGM will transmit the original payload proposal and its assessment to the primary PI for their review. The CGM will provide written explanations to the proposer if the CGM declines the payload proposal directly.
  3. Primary PIs funded by NSF must review and consider proposals for payload projects. The primary PI will assess if the payload project impedes or detracts from the quality of the primary experiment or if it can be reasonably accommodated. Should they choose to decline the proposal, the Primary PIs must provide written explanations to the CGM. The CGM will convey this review to the proposal team.
  4. The primary PI and payload project PI are responsible for coordinating their activities once a payload project has been accepted.
  5. A multi-participant research agreement is recommended to outline the contractual and financial obligations of the primary team, payload team, the CGM, the project sponsors, and others as indicated.
  6. The CGM will provide support to both research teams toward achieving integration.