The DURA Charter

The purpose of the Deep Underground Research Association (DURA) is to provide an organized framework for the interaction between those who use the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) for their research and SURF management, as well as to provide a channel for communication with other Underground Research Laboratories and, on suitable occasions, with federal agencies. The DURA, representing the researchers, will be in a position to make known to the SURF management the needs and desires of users regarding operating policy, use of SURF, user support, and other relevant issues of concern to those engaged in research at this facility. The DURA will further provide a means for the SURF management to inform users on issues including current and future plans for the facility. Thorough discussion with users of on-going projects, as well as plans for future uses, will place SURF management in a stronger position to evaluate the needs of users and will enable users to plan more efficiently the utilization of the facility. The role of the DURA shall be to advise the SURF Director on matters of concern to users. Responsibility for SURF and the research program carried out at the SURF resides with the SURF Director.

The DURA will coexist with the SURF Program Advisory Committee (PAC). The role of DURA relates to interaction of experimenters with the facility, agencies and government while the PAC relates to review of the proposed and evolving experimental program.

A. Organisation

Membership in the DURA shall be open to all those who are interested in Research and Educational & Outreach (E&O) at SURF. Special emphasis will be made to ensure younger researchers are engaged in DURA. Young researchers include undergraduate and graduate students and researchers within five (5) years of receiving their PhD.

Individuals may join, participate, and vote in DURA by subscribing to the DURA mailing list at

Individuals are encouraged to participate in DURA by responding to periodic surveys announced through the mailing list, and SURF Newsletters.

  1. Membership
  2. Standing Committees
    1. The Deep Underground Research Executive Committee (DUREC) is charged with conducting the day-to-day business of the DURA. The DUREC shall consist of nine individuals including the Chairperson, the Vice Chairperson, the Past-Chairperson, the Secretary, and five additional members. The DUREC  shall comprise at least one (1) early career or young researcher (less than 5 years post-Ph.D.), at least two (2) representatives of  the physics community, at least two (2) representatives of the biology-geoscience-engineering community, and with no more than two (2) representatives from any single experimental collaboration. The members of the DUREC shall be elected by the members of the DURA by ballot, for staggered terms of office, as soon as practicable after the annual meeting of the membership of the DURA. Newly elected members of the DUREC shall take office on the first of January of the year following their election. The terms of office of members of the DUREC shall be three (3) years, except for officers, who shall be elected by the DUREC from its membership, as specified in section A.3 below.  The DUREC shall strive to maintain representation that reflects the diverse research, education, and outreach opportunities at SURF.
    2. The Nominating Committee shall consist of five members appointed by the DUREC. The Nominating Committee is charged with preparing a slate of candidates for election to the DUREC. The slate is to be presented to the membership of the DURA at or shortly after the annual meeting. In preparing this slate, the Nominating Committee shall formally solicit widespread input from the membership of the DURA. The Nominating Committee shall also include on the slate nominations submitted in writing over the signatures of at least five members of the DURA, including those submitted at the meeting. The slate shall, as nearly as possible, reflect a balance of interests among research fields pursued at SURF and among institutional affiliations of the users and shall be at least twice as large as the number of positions to be filled on the DUREC.
  3. Officers
    1. The Chairperson of the DUREC shall serve as Chairperson of the DURA. The Chairperson's term of office shall be one (1) year. To assure continuity, the Chairperson shall continue to serve on the DUREC for one additional year as Past Chairperson. The Chairperson shall serve on the SURF Change Control Board during the construction of SURF.
    2. The Vice Chairperson of the DUREC shall serve as Vice Chairperson of the DURA. The Vice Chairperson shall stand in for the Chairperson if he or she is unavailable and shall assist the Chairperson in the discharge of his or her duties. The Vice Chairperson shall be elected by the DUREC from among its members. His or her term of office shall be one (1) year, upon expiration of which term he or she shall assume the position of Chairperson. The Vice Chairperson shall serve on the SURF Change Control Board during the construction of SURF.
    3. The Secretary of the DUREC, appointed by the Chairperson, shall serve as Secretary of the DURA. The term of office of the Secretary shall be one (1) year and shall be renewable.
    4. The DUREC can appoint a representative for the National User Facility Organization and other advocacy groups. The representative is appointed annually and does not need to be a current member of the DUREC. The appointed representative can serve for multiple years in order to maintain and enhance the experience of the DURA in general educational efforts promoting the importance and impact of the research performed at SURF.
B. Meetings
  1. Meetings of the membership of the DURA shall be called by the Chairperson.  Normally, one meeting per year shall be held. Location of the meetings shall normally be at SURF, but other sites may be selected by the DUREC. Except under unusual circumstances, notice of meetings shall be given to the membership at least three months in advance.
  2. An agenda for each meeting shall be provided by the Chairperson upon advice of the DUREC. A short written description of the items on the agenda shall be provided to members of the DURA in advance of a meeting. During the meeting the DURA will have an opportunity to present research performed at the DURA and also to discuss the current status and future developments of SURF.
  3. The DUREC shall meet at the call of the Chairperson to transact all such business as shall be required between general meetings of the membership of the DURA.
C. Procedural Rules
  1. Minutes of all meetings shall be recorded by the Secretary and shall include a brief resume of the results of the meeting. After approval by the Chairperson, copies of the minutes of the meetings of the DURA shall be provided to all members, e.g., by posting them on the Internet, and minutes of the meetings of the DUREC shall be made available to members of the DURA upon request.
  2. Meetings of the DURA and of the DUREC shall abide by parliamentary rules as stated in Robert's Rules of Order.
  3. This charter can be amended by a mail or web-based ballot of the members of the DURA conducted by the DUREC. A majority of those members voting in the balloting must vote in favor of an amendment for it to be adopted.
  4. In the event that a position on the DUREC should be vacated before expiration of its term, the DUREC shall appoint a member of the DURA to fill the position for the duration of the unexpired term.
  5. The DUREC shall advise the Director of SURF with regard to the membership of relevant committees that may be established. The SURF Director shall keep the DUREC advised of proposed changes in the operation of SURF and of future plans; the DUREC shall bear responsibility for making appropriate recommendations to the SURF Director regarding such matters, including future directions, major equipment, and changing user needs.

Version 0.3 November 2010
Version 0.4 January 2011 – changed Name to DURA – Deep Underground Research Association
Version 0.4.1 March 2012 - administrative modifications to text: web link to email lisserv address has been changed. Text on email list and newsletter notifications was modified.
Version 0.4.2 July 2012 Better definition of membership