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DOE Selects New Team to Manage Argonne National Laboratory

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July 31, 2006 | by Megan Fellman

EVANSTON, Ill. --- The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced today that a new team assembled by the University of Chicago that includes Northwestern University has been selected to manage Argonne National Laboratory, one of the DOE's major multi-program national laboratories known for its world-class innovations in energy, science, technology, biomedicine and national security.

The DOE has awarded a new $2.5 billion, five-year contract for management and operation of Argonne to the UChicago Argonne, LLC, owned solely by the University of Chicago. The new independent entity was supported in its proposal by Northwestern, the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign and the University of Illinois at Chicago, participating with the LLC in making significant financial commitments to support scientific activities at the laboratory.

The universities also will participate as members of a new Science Policy Council which will advise the laboratory science leadership and report to a Board of Governors reporting to the LLC. President Henry S. Bienen and Vice President for Research C. Bradley Moore at Northwestern serve on the Board of Governors. Moore also serves on the Science Policy Council.

The LLC and its partners have committed to provide $15.5 million over the term of the five-year contract, primarily to support joint appointments and scientific institutes at the laboratory. Northwestern already has made important joint appointments with Argonne, including naming Peter Stair, professor of chemistry, as director of a joint catalysis center, and hiring chemist Mercouri Kanatzidis, a joint appointment between the department of chemistry and Argonne's materials science division.

“The complementary strengths of the academic institutions will provide more diverse advice and richer opportunities for collaboration for Argonne National Laboratory,” said Moore. “The resulting powerhouse of R&D promises to make Chicagoland far more competitive in the global knowledge economy.”

The Board of Governors consists of two dozen leaders in science and technology from industry and universities, including Bienen and the presidents of the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois. The team is designed to combine strong scientific leadership with best management practices to support innovation and discovery at Argonne that serves the national interest.

In addition to Moore, the Board's Science Policy Council consists of the vice president for research of the University of Chicago, the vice chancellors for research at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Illinois at Chicago, and the director and the chief scientist of Argonne.

Under the new contract, UChicago Argonne also is joined by industrial partners, Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. and BWXT Services Inc., which will provide representatives to the Board of Governors.

Argonne National Laboratory is one of the nation's leading federally funded research and development centers, employing approximately 2,900 employees, including about 1,000 scientists and engineers. Argonne's annual operating budget of about $475 million supports upwards of 200 research projects.