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Friday, March 19, 2004

















Regents Told to Expect New Lab Director in May

Members of the Committee on Oversight of Department of Energy Laboratories for the University of California's Board of Regents heard plans yesterday that will lead to the anticipated appointment of a new Director for Berkeley Lab in May.

UC Vice President for Laboratory Affairs Robert Foley told the Regents at their meeting in San Francisco that national advertisements for the position have already been placed, and that the search is on a "fast track." He said he expects that President Robert Dynes will forward a recommendation to the Board at their May 20 meeting.

 "We know the DOE wants a decision on the reward of a new (management) contract by the end of the year," Foley said. "We want the new Director to be actively involved in all deliberations, so we need to wrap (the search) up as soon as we can."

The process kicked off yesterday afternoon and evening, with the 10-member Joint Committee on the Selection of a Laboratory Director for Berkeley holding informal talks with an invited guest list at the lab that included scientists, staff, and community representatives. President Dynes and current Laboratory Director Charles Shank also participated.

The Committee, by policy, is to receive no less than five nor more than 15 names from the President for its consideration in recommending an appointment.

The screening committee — which Foley said "will be encouraging nominations of outstanding candidates, and I'm sure we'll get a slew of them" — will be headed by Bill Frazer, former Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at UC and retired physicist at Berkeley Lab.

In acknowledging the search, President Dynes noted Shank's announced departure. "Chuck has done a superb job in the last 15 years," he said. "Under his leadership, the Laboratory has blossomed to new heights of scientific accomplishment."

Foley also noted the impending contract competition for Berkeley Lab, as well as for its sister Department of Energy laboratories in Livermore and Los Alamos. The University is planning for all competitions as if it will compete, though no official decision has been made. Berkeley Lab's DOE contract with UC has been extended through next January.

"The DOE will probably announce its schedule for Berkeley (competition) in April," he told the Regents.

George Blumenthal, vice chair of UC's Academic Council, and professor in the department of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz, also briefed the Regents on faculty activities related to the decision to compete for the labs. Blumenthal, who is on the Berkeley Lab Director Joint Committee, told them about various forums and votes scheduled during the spring at most of the UC labs, focused on issues surrounding the two defense labs.

There will be little debate about Berkeley Lab, he predicted.

"There is almost no voice on the faculty regarding competition for the Berkeley Lab being at all controversial," he told them. "Its work is all non-classified, and it is closely aligned with the Berkeley campus."

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