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The Petroleum Environmental Research Forum is a research and development joint venture whose members are corporations engaged in the petroleum industry that recognize the importance of a clean, healthy environment and are committed to supporting cooperative research and development.
PERF does not itself participate in research projects but provides a forum for members to collect, exchange, and analyze research information relating to practical and theoretical science and technology concerning the petroleum industry, and a mechanism to establish joint research projects in that field.
PERF Members have initiated or completed more than 100 such joint projects since its inception in 1986. PERF meetings have a decidedly multidisciplinary atmosphere, with attendance by scientists, engineers and managers with backgrounds in chemistry, chemical and environmental engineering, microbiology, and other fields. These professionals are guided by the technical challenge to address pollution prevention and safety, as well as a personal concern for the environment.
PERF has neither paid staff nor office. The PERF Board of Directors is comprised of volunteers from member companies. It provides guidance to ensure that the organization achieves its purpose and objectives. Ten persons serve on the board without compensation from PERF: the PERF officers (chair, vice-chair, secretary and treasurer), the most recent past chair, and five other elected representatives from the membership.
PERF membership meetings are hosted by members on a rotation basis and held every 3-6 months. As part of an effort to improve coordination in R&D between industry and government, PERF frequently invites representatives of trade associations and government agencies such as DOE or the national labs to attend PERF meetings.
At PERF meetings, members propose specific research projects and invite other members to participate. Research proposals are often prepared in small subgroups or topic discussion groups that meet on a periodic basis. Typically, a successful PERF proposal results in a project with six to ten participants. However, projects can proceed with as few as two or three companies participating. The actual research work may be performed by a university, an independent contractor, or by a PERF member.
In recent years, there have been a number of multiyear projects (or “Programs”) based on sharing of in-house R&D results and other similar contributions. PERF Programs generally encompass a set of projects in a specific focus area and often involve partnerships or coordination with trade associations and governmental agencies.
PERF project results are usually confidential to paying participants for a limited period, as this provides an incentive for joining. Each project is protected under the National Cooperative Research and Production Act by filing a descriptive Notification with the Justice Department and the FTC. This results in a notice appearing in the Federal Register which usually states that participation is open to non-PERF members. PERF Members are not required to join any specific PERF projects, but participate in only projects of interest to them.
For more information on how PERF operates, view the PERF Charter or the PERF Project pages.
* The name Petroleum Environmental Research Forum and its acronym PERF are registered service marks.