URA Roundtable on Effective University-National Laboratory Partnerships

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URA Roundtable on Effective University-National Laboratory Partnerships: A Look to the Future

As part of URA’s 2020 Council of Presidents Annual Meeting and Policy Forum, speakers from the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science and from the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) described the future challenges and priorities related to National Laboratories and the importance of the university-national laboratory relationship. As a result of these discussions, URA organized a roundtable in October 2020 among a group of URA member university representatives on how to strengthen the engagement of the university community with the National Laboratories.


In recent years, discussion among researchers and policymakers has centered on how to prioritize research resources to focus more sharply on national priorities. In addition to identifying specific science investment priorities, it is crucial to examine how the research ecosystem–including the National Laboratories, academia, and industry–can function most effectively.
More robust connections, greater clarity around current university-National Laboratory partnerships, and identification of opportunities for improvement, would benefit all parties and contribute to the strength and creativity of the entire research enterprise. The vigorous participation of universities—sources of knowledge, of pathbreaking research, and of rich talent pipelines—in this national dialogue is critical.
Giving universities a clear voice in this dialogue was the motivation for the URA Roundtable on Effective University-National Laboratory Partnerships—A Look to the Future. The Roundtable discussed the complex issues at the intersection of the intellectual mandate, the creation of the next generation STEM workforce, and the evolving business model for universities.

Publication Date
October 2020
University Participants
Elizabeth Cantwell, University of Arizona, Chair
Rebecca Cunningham, University of Michigan
Juan de Pablo, The University of Chicago
Paul Fleury, Yale University
Emmanuel Giannelis, Cornell University
David Hitlin, California Institute of Technology
Norbert R. Holtkamp, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, Stanford University
Daniel Jaffe, The University of Texas, Austin
Laurie Locascio, University of Maryland
Theresa Mayer, Purdue University
Stacey Patterson, University of Tennessee System
Padma Raghavan, Vanderbilt University
Richard Reeder, Stony Brook University
Lora G. Weiss, Pennsylvania State University
June Yu, UC National Laboratories (UCNL), University of California System
Board of Trustees
Eric Barron, Chair, President of Pennsylvania State University
William H. Joyce, Vice Chair, Chairman & CEO of Advanced Fusion Systems, LLC
Norman R. Augustine, CEO (ret.) of Lockheed Martin Corporation
Barry Barish, Nobel Laureate in Physics, The Emeritus Ronald & Maxine Linde Professor of Physics at California Institute of Technology
Gene Block, Chancellor of the University of California, Los Angeles
Harris Pastides, Distinguished President Emeritus of the University of South Carolina
Robert C. Robbins, President of the University of Arizona
Timothy D. Sands, President of Virginia Polytechnic and State University
Mark S. Schlissel, President of the University of Michigan
Richard J. Swift, President, Chairman & CEO (ret.) Foster Wheeler Corp.
Joe B. Wyatt, Chancellor Emeritus of Vanderbilt University
Council of Presidents
Wendy Wintersteen, Chair, President of Iowa State University
Gary S. May, Vice Chair, Chancellor of the University of California, Davis
Report Preparation
Ted Wackler, URA Deputy Director
Ian Anderson, Director, URA Sandia Site Office
William Smith, URA Senior Consultant for Sandia