Beginning with degree programs in 1943, ORNL has had a special relationship with the University of Tennessee. Since UT became a managing contractor of the Laboratory in April 2000, the two institutions have expanded a variety of programs that enrich and strengthen the research agenda of both ORNL and the university.
UT's first major Oak Ridge outreach activity was the formation of the Oak Ridge Institute of Nuclear Studies. In 1948 the UT Physics Department's William Pollard and Kenneth Hertel established ORINS, which later became Oak Ridge Associated Universities, a consortium of more than 80 universities that provides training and research opportunities in Oak Ridge for faculty and students throughout the nation.
As adjunct faculty, ORNL staff members have long taught science and engineering courses at UT, while university faculty have served as consultants and research participants at the Laboratory. Many ORNL scientists and engineers attended the UT Resident Graduate Program in Oak Ridge, which offered evening courses to those pursuing advanced degrees.
The first formal joint programs between the institutions were two UT graduate schools located at ORNL. One was the UT Graduate Program in Ecology. The other was the UT-Oak Ridge Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, later called the UT-Oak Ridge Graduate School of Genome Science and Technology and moved to UT's Knoxville campus. More than 300 program graduates conduct biological research at universities, institutes, and businesses.
In 1984 the relationship matured further with the creation of the Science Alliance, a UT Center of Excellence sponsored by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. The alliance, whose directors included Lee Riedinger (now deputy director of science and technology at ORNL), has been the primary vehicle through which the state of Tennessee promotes research and educational collaborations between UT and ORNL.
The UT-ORNL partnership's cornerstone is the Distinguished Scientist Program, through which esteemed researchers are appointed to joint positions. Ten current Distinguished Scientists have brought excellent research groups and external funding that enrich the local science community. Former Distinguished Scientist Jerry Mahan was elected to the National Academy of Sciences. The partnership also includes a joint faculty program for participants at all academic levels. Joint faculty number about 20 and can be based at ORNL or UT.
The Science Alliance administers the Joint Institute for Heavy Ion Research and the Joint Institute for Energy and Environment. UT also is a partner in the Joint Institute for Computational Sciences, Joint Institute for Neutron Science, and Joint Institute for Biological Sciences at ORNL. In 2002 Governor Don Sundquist joined UT President John Shumaker and ORNL Director Bill Madia at a ground breaking ceremony for the ORNL building that will house the Joint Institute for Computational Science and the Oak Ridge Center for Advanced Studies. State leaders have committed funding support for the other two institutes.
A unique area of collaboration involves transportation research projects of national interest at the National Transportation Research Center in Knox County, managed by UT and ORNL. With UT taking the lead, ORNL and several medical organizations formed the Tennessee Mouse Genome Consortium, funded to create new strains of mutant mice for studies of neurological disorders.
The scope of research relationships between UT and ORNL continues to grow. ORNL partners with UT in the Center for Genomics and Bioinformatics, Tennessee Advanced Materials Laboratory, Center for Environmental Biotechnology, Center for Structural Biology, Food Safety Center of Excellence, Center for Information Technology Research, and Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences.
In addition to joint research efforts, ORNL and UT are partners in a number of initiatives outside the Laboratory. UT-Battelle sponsors the UT Academy for Math and Science, which provides development training for area teachers. UT-Battelle also funds minority scholarships in the College of Engineering, as well as the UT-Battelle Scholars program, which awards to children of ORNL staff scholarships to UT in math and science.
Web site provided by Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Communications and External Relations