April 1, 2010, was a historic date for Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The day marked not only the tenth anniversary of UT-Battelle's role as the managing contractor for the laboratory, but also the beginning of a new five-year contract announced the previous week at an event attended by Energy Secretary Steve Chu, Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen, and members of the Tennessee congressional delegation. The announcement was a time to celebrate the accomplishments of the last ten years, mindful that the price of success is a higher level of expectations in the years ahead.
ORNL's message to the Department of Energy and to our stakeholders is a simple one. We view the enormous strides made over the past decade as prologue to what lies ahead. Having transformed an outdated infrastructure into one of the world's most modern research campuses, we are focused in the coming years on using these magnificent facilities to deliver some of the world's most impactful science. Indeed, our belief is that the reputations of the Spallation Neutron Source and the Jaguar supercomputer, along with an array of other exceptional research facilities at ORNL, ultimately will be determined, not by the scale of their extraordinary capabilities, but by the distinction of the science they produce.
This issue of the Review is the second of a two-part look at ORNL's efforts to make the laboratory's unique research assets available to a broader segment of the scientific community at other institutions. Our philosophy is predicated on the idea that there is a lasting benefit to the nation in the sharing of research. Approximately 90 percent of the agreements with visiting scientists contain a commitment by the researchers to publish or share the findings of their work at ORNL. We have found this openness frequently enables scientists to build upon the findings of others in their own research projects.
Accessibility to Oak Ridge's user facilities in most cases comes with support from the laboratory's technical and research staff. For many visiting scientists, the willing help and collaboration from ORNL researchers is the "life preserver" that enables them to maximize their time and effort in a new and often intimidating environment. Researchers who arrive in Oak Ridge with preconceived notions on occasion modify their experiments as a result of theoretical calculations or the testing of their materials at ORNL. Equally important, researchers who could perform parts of their research at their home labs often find it more convenient and more productive to conduct the entire experiment while in Oak Ridge.
This commitment by ORNL to "deliver even more science" is the theme not just of this issue of the Review, but also of the laboratory's agenda for the next five years. In the same manner as we doubled the size of the laboratory's research program over the last decade, our goal is a comparable increase in the depth and value of the science we deliver to the Department of Energy, to the Congress, and to the public we were created to serve.
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