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Tuesday, April 19, 2005
S P E C I A L   E D I T I O N
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Energy Department Awards Contract to University of California
To Manage and Operate Berkeley Lab for Another 5 Years

The Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded a new five-year contract to the University of California to manage and operate Berkeley Lab. The award is the result of the first competition of the management and operating (M&O) contract for the Laboratory since its inception.

The value of the new five-year contract is an estimated $2.3 billion. Berkeley Lab’s $469 million annual budget is funded by the department’s Office of Science, other DOE programs, as well as other government agencies and private industry.

“Because of its outstanding work, including 10 Nobel Prizes won by its scientists, Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory has helped ensure U.S. scientific leadership for more than 60 years,” Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman said. “This contract award will allow LBNL and its outstanding researchers and staff to seamlessly continue their work as they set new standards of scientific excellence.”

The new “award-term” contract contains a number of innovative provisions intended to provide incentives for superior performance. The department may recognize superior performance through phased extensions, beyond the initial five-year term of the contract, for up to a total of 20 years, if the contractor meets performance criteria developed by DOE.

Following a short transition period, the initial contract term will be June 1, 2005 to May 31, 2010. The University of California has operated the laboratory since 1943 for DOE and its predecessors. Read the DOE news release here.

UC President Robert Dynes said, “I am very pleased that the Department of Energy has chosen the University of California to continue our proud tradition of managing Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. For more than 60 years, since E.O. Lawrence pioneered this kind of collaboration, the University has partnered with the federal government to manage this important scientific and technological enterprise in the national interest. I am pleased for UC, and our country, that this partnership will continue into the future.” Full statement.

Berkeley Lab Director Steve Chu, Deputy Director Graham Fleming, and Associate Laboratory Director for Operations David McGraw similarly voiced pleasure in the continuation of the relationship between the institutions.

“From the very start of the process, we have felt that, based on our distinguished history of partnership and our impressive record of success, continuing management by the University was essential to maintaining the strength and quality of both institutions,” Chu said. “From the shared facilities and programs of faculty and students at UC Berkeley, to the thousands of systemwide researchers who have benefited from the use of Berkeley Lab facilities over the years, our relationships have been numerous and productive. The announcement to extend that partnership promises more mutual rewards, and further advances in scientific exploration, in the future.”

Fleming added, “Under the University’s proven stewardship and the DOE’s careful oversight, the Laboratory promises to be a fertile environment for the growth of burgeoning new fields – visionary programs like those in nanotechnology, synthetic biology, carbon-neutral energy development, the search for the nature of ‘dark energy,’ and high-performance computing.” He also said it “ensures the continuation of a wonderful synergy between university and laboratory that prepares the next generation of scientists and engineers for success in their professions. And it will assure that the considerable benefits and resources enjoyed by Laboratory employees will continue.”

The new contract, McGraw said, “represents a revitalized commitment on our part to deliver world-class science, using state-of-the-art tools and facilities, and providing a first-rate staff which works to rigorous standards and procedures.” In a press conference earlier today, McGraw said that under the new contract current Berkeley Lab employees will continue to be considered employees of the University of California, and that there are essentially no changes to their benefit and pension programs. Go here for complete statements.

A look at the contract and its primary provisions will be featured in the April 29 issue of The View.

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