ORNL, U.S. Air Force launch educational program


OAK RIDGE, Tenn., January 14, 2005 -- Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the U.S. Air Force have launched a program to help Air Force personnel upgrade their technical knowledge and skills and raise their awareness of potentially useful ORNL research and technology.

The U.S. Air Force-National Laboratory Technical Fellowship Program was established Wednesday with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between UT-Battelle, which manages ORNL for the Department of Energy, and the USAF Strategic Security Directorate.

Air Force officers in biology, chemistry, physics and nuclear engineering careers can earn master's degrees in a two-year program, combining technical assignments in ORNL's National Security Directorate with courses in biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology, chemistry, nuclear and radiological engineering or physics at the University of Tennessee.

The masters degree program also will be coordinated through ORNL's core university partners: Duke University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Florida State University, North Carolina State University, Vanderbilt University, University of Virginia and Virginia Tech.

ORNL also will host a 12-month program for officers who already have advanced technical or masters degrees. Participants in this program will work with ORNL staff in a chosen research field, with an option for UT coursework.

"Since ORNL is the Department of Energy's largest multipurpose lab, it offers a variety of disciplines and facilities that the Air Force can utilize to train its personnel," said Maj. Gen. Roger W. Burg, director of Strategic Security, Air and Space Operations. "This program will help expand our officers' scientific career path and give them first-hand insight and experience into ORNL's multiple technology programs."

ORNL Director Jeff Wadsworth said the initiative benefits the lab by bringing highly qualified professional staff and a Department of Defense perspective to lab research.

"This is the first joint project between ORNL and the U.S. Air Force, and it is one that will be mutually beneficial," Wadsworth said. "After the first year, we plan to have at least two officers on site and in training at all times. We look forward to a long, prosperous working relationship with the U.S. Air Force."

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