OAK RIDGE, Tenn. — Governor Phil Bredesen today joined officials from the University of Tennessee and the Department of Energy in dedicating a new state-funded research facility at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
The event celebrated the opening of the Joint Institute for Neutron Sciences, a 31,000 sq. ft. facility that contains 82 offices and seven laboratories. Located adjacent to the Spallation Neutron Source, the Joint Institute serves as an intellectual hub for the neutron science community and as a gateway that provides researchers access to the world’s most powerful neutron scattering facilities. Through the Joint Institute, UT faculty have joint appointments with the University and ORNL as part of one of the world’s leading centers of materials research.
Governor Bredesen was joined in the dedication by UT Interim President Jan Simek, UT Knoxville Chancellor Jimmy Cheek, and ORNL Director Thom Mason. Their remarks expressed appreciation to the Governor for his support of the UT-ORNL partnership over an eight-year period that Mason predicted “in the years to come will be viewed as one of the most important periods in the history of Oak Ridge National Laboratory.”
The Governor’s remarks echoed the sentiment, stating that, “Our goal has been to create jobs in this area by combining the tremendous research capabilities of a great university and a great laboratory. Today’s events mark some of the success we’ve achieved, and my hope is that the tremendous progress we have made is only an indication of greater things yet to come.”
The Joint Institute for Neutron Sciences is owned by the state of Tennessee and will be managed by UT-Battelle for the Department of Energy. The facility is the third joint institute facility funded by approximately $30 million in state funds since UT-Battelle became the laboratory’s managing contractor in April 2000. The project represents the completion of a commitment by the governor and the two legislative speakers in 1999 to build three facilities at ORNL if UT-Battelle became the laboratory’s managing contractor.
UT President Simek said the three institutes in biology, computation, and neutron sciences have served the twin goals of making ORNL facilities accessible to UT faculty and staff while also helping the university and the lab compete successfully for large research programs. Simek pointed to the biofuels research at the BioEnergy Science Center and Kraken, the world’s largest university computer awarded to UT by the National Science Foundation, as examples of how the joint institutes have paid dividends for UT and ORNL.
The Joint Institute for Neutron Sciences will be used by UT faculty and students in a new graduate program in Energy Sciences. Proposed by Governor Bredesen and approved by the General Assembly in last January’s special session, the graduate program has among its goals a significant increase in the number of UT graduates in science-related fields.
Chancellor Cheek said that because of Governor Bredesen’s leadership, “Tennessee is among the few places in the United States where we can mount a joint venture between a major public research university and a top research laboratory.” Cheek added that the Governor’s contributions will make a lasting contribution to the University’s goal of becoming a Top 25 research institution.
During Governor Bredesen’s tenure, the number of joint faculty appointments between UT and ORNL has more than doubled to a total of 95. Joint faculty, which include nine governor’s chairs funded through an initiative begun by Bredesen, divide their time between teaching at UT and conducting research at ORNL.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory is managed by UT-Battelle for the Department of Energy.
Billy Stair, ORNL Communications and External Relations, (865) 574-4160; firstname.lastname@example.org