The University of Tennessee and Battelle, one of the world’s largest private independent research and development organizations, will announce plans Wednesday to bid jointly for the Department of Energy contract to manage Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
The announcement is set for 10:30 a.m. at Technology 2020 on Commerce Park Drive in Oak Ridge.
The UT-Battelle team will be supported by Oak Ridge Associated Universities, a consortium of prominent research universities. ORAU’s lead academic institutions in the project are Duke, Georgia Tech, North Carolina State and Virginia Tech. Additional lead institutions and subcontractors may be announced in the near future.
Tennessee Gov. Don Sundquist said the UT-Battelle initiative has his full support.
“I applaud this joint venture between UT and Battelle and am excited about the prospects,” Sundquist said. “The benefits to Tennessee are enormous, and I will do whatever I can to ensure success.”
“ORNL is one of the nation’s foremost scientific research centers and a great asset to this region,” said UT President Joe Johnson. “The combination of Battelle, one of the world’s leading research and development organizations, with the University of Tennessee and outstanding academic partners will provide a very strong team to manage the laboratory.”
“Battelle is very pleased to join with UT in pursuit of the ORNL contract,” said Doug Olesen, Battelle president and chief executive officer. “UT is an outstanding institution with an excellent perspective on the needs of the laboratory and the region as we move into the 21st century.”
Johnson and Olesen commented, “Our four university partners bring to the team strong academic, science and engineering leadership in the Southeast. The universities also have extensive expertise in the commercialization of basic sciences.”
Johnson said UT-Battelle’s goals will include completing the Spallation Neutron Source, broadening the lab’s scientific research, and providing the nation’s scientific and business communities with greater access to ORNL’s resources.
UT has made a priority of expanding collaborative research activities with ORNL during the 1990s, Johnson said. In 1998, Gov. Sundquist recommended and the Tennessee General Assembly appropriated $8 million to construct the Joint Institute for Neutron Sciences, a project designed for UT and ORNL to conduct research associated with the $1.3 billion Spallation Neutron Source in Oak Ridge.
When completed, SNS will be among the world’s most advanced accelerators for the study of materials.
Later this year, UT and ORNL will break ground for the National Transportation Research Center, another joint project designed to support Tennessee’s emerging role in the automotive and related industries.
The neutron sciences institute and the transportation institute are in addition to some $20 million in joint scientific research conducted annually by UT and ORNL.
Battelle is a non-profit organization with annual revenues of approximately $1 billion and 7,000 employees at more than 60 locations. The company has operated the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory for the Department of Energy since 1965, and is a partner in managing both the Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Colorado.
Battelle also owns and operates research and development laboratories in Columbus, Ohio, Geneva, Switzerland, and other locations.
Battelle’s technology-based commercial businesses are concentrated in the automotive, pharmaceuticals, medical products, energy products, and chemicals market sectors.
The 4,500-employee ORNL facility is one of several national multi-program DOE research laboratories. The laboratory’s research focuses on materials, environment, computer science, nuclear physics, and life sciences.
The University of Tennessee has 42,000 students at four campuses and three institutes. UT-Knoxville is a Carnegie I research institution with centers of excellence in waste management, materials processing, and the Science Alliance, a collaboration of UT faculty and ORNL staff involved in scientific research.
DOE issued a draft Request for Proposal in December for the management of ORNL. The final request is expected to be issued in March and a contract decision is anticipated in late 1999.
The UT-Battelle team plans to open an information office in Oak Ridge in the near future for those interested in more information about Battelle and the University of Tennessee.
Contacts: UT: Homer Fisher (423) 974-3211
Battelle: Tom McClain (614) 424-7728
See also: UT’s Commitment to Bidders on the ORNL Management and Operating (M&O) Contract