Science Policy Council at Argonne will improve scientific collaborationBy Steve Koppes
The University has established a new Science Policy Council, in collaboration with Northwestern University and the University of Illinois, which will oversee the scientific mission of Argonne National Laboratory. The council is expected to enhance Argonne’s scientific capabilities, strengthen the state’s technological base and workforce preparation, and improve Illinois’ ability to receive federal research funding.
By strengthening ties between Argonne and its academic partners in Illinois, the council will open new vistas for research at the laboratory and within the region, said Thomas Rosenbaum, Vice President for Research and for Argonne National Laboratory.
A closer relationship between Argonne and Illinois universities could also trigger new scientific, technological and economic benefits, while providing a larger role for Illinois students in research at the laboratory, he said.
The University will continue as the sole manager of the laboratory for the Department of Energy, but the presidents and a senior administrator from both Northwestern and Illinois will join Argonne’s Board of Governors. The presidents of all three universities will serve as members of the executive and nominating committees of the Argonne board, helping recruit prominent, new board members from industry, academia and the national laboratory system.
Rosenbaum explained that establishing the council is a response to the evolving climate for scientific funding, in which greater emphasis is being placed on research that is supported by more than one institution.
“There is a growing emphasis in federal science funding on regional collaborations,” Rosenbaum said. “Our successful recent bid for the Regional Biocontainment Lab to be built soon at Argonne is a good example of the value of bringing a number of institutions together. The funding agencies, including the National Science Foundation, the Department of Homeland Security and the National Institutes of Health, are all putting more value on collaborative, multidisciplinary science. We believe this council will help make Argonne more attractive in the competition for funding for leading edge projects.”
Lauding the new council was Argonne’s Director Designate Robert Rosner.
“Illinois is fortunate to be home to three of the great national research universities, and by creating the Science Policy Council, the University has provided a formal mechanism for bringing this strength to bear on guiding the science and technology future of Argonne National Laboratory,” said Rosner, whose directorship begins Monday, April 18.
The new Science Policy Council’s responsibilities will focus on guiding the interactions and scientific directions of Argonne and its Illinois academic partners. It will address such issues as joint appointments, student and faculty access, and the development of new scientific directions for Argonne.
The council’s membership will consist of the vice presidents for research from Chicago and Northwestern, the vice chancellors for research from the University of Illinois, at Urbana-Champaign and at Chicago, and the Director of Argonne National Laboratory.
Both the Argonne Board of Governors and the University Board of Trustees approved the establishment of the Science Policy Council.