Vanderbilt joins ORNL core universities

09/30/04

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Sept. 30, 2004 Oak Ridge National Laboratory announced today that Vanderbilt University has joined the laboratory's "core universities." ORNL's core universities--which now number seven--assume a scientific leadership role in working with the laboratory to help shape the research agenda for more than one billion dollars in science and technology programs.

ORNL Director Jeff Wadsworth said Vanderbilt's membership in the core universities honors an invitation made four years ago when UT-Battelle became the laboratory's managing contractor for the Department of Energy. UT-Battelle is a partnership between the University of Tennessee and Battelle, a research and development firm headquartered in Columbus, Ohio.

"Vanderbilt is an outstanding addition to our core universities," said Wadsworth. "The school's superb capabilities, particularly in the area of medical research, are ideally suited to ORNL's emerging programs in genomics and the biosciences."

Vanderbilt joins Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, North Carolina State, the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech as part of ORNL's core university arrangement with Oak Ridge Associated Universities. Along with the University of Tennessee, ORNL engages with ORAU and the core universities in a variety of ways. Joint faculty appointments, for example, enable a university faculty member to conduct research at the laboratory for extended amounts of time, with costs shared by the two institutions. The core universities also support the laboratory in the development of major new science initiatives and provide leadership in expanding university interaction with ORNL across the broader academic research community.

Wadsworth said he does not anticipate further additions to the core university group "in the foreseeable future."

Vanderbilt Chancellor Gordon Gee said, "We are delighted to be a part of the most exciting and important science initiative in the country and a significant engine for economic activity in Tennessee. This relationship will add a whole new dimension to our research and teaching activities. Along with the biosciences, Vanderbilt's work in the basic sciences, engineering and technology will benefit immensely."

Vanderbilt has a long record of partnership with ORNL, most notably in the physical sciences. Vanderbilt was the driving force with the University of Tennessee in the establishment in the 1980's of ORNL's Joint Institute for Heavy Ion Research. The institute is serving as the model for three additional joint institutes currently being established at the laboratory, which is currently midway through a $1.7 billion construction program that includes a new Center for Computational Sciences, the Spallation Neutron Source, the center for Nanophase Materials Science, a new facility for advanced microscopy and a new laboratory for ORNL's renowned mutant mouse colony.

ORNL also has a close working relationship with Oak Ridge Associated Universities, a consortium of 91 major research institutions.

Source: Eurekalert & others

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