March 2, 2006
Vol. 25 No. 11

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    University partners with URA to bid on Fermilab contract

    Wilson Hall at Fermilab is mirrored in the reflecting pool on the grounds of the laboratory in Batavia, Ill.

    Universities Research Association Inc. and the University have formed a partnership to bid for the U.S. Department of Energy contract to manage the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, home of the Tevatron, the world’s highest-energy particle accelerator.

    “The partnership of URA and the University of Chicago will create a robust new organization to be proposed to the DOE for the management and operation of Fermilab beginning in January 2007,” said URA President Fred Bernthal.

    “This partnership will not only enhance the management of Fermilab, it will facilitate synergies between Argonne National Laboratory and Fermilab in frontier research in particle physics, astrophysics and high-performance computing, as well as in launching major new programs such as the proposed International Linear Collider and the Rare Isotope Accelerator,” said Bernthal.

    “URA has successfully managed the creation and operation of Fermilab for the Department of Energy and has compiled an impressive record of accomplishments at the laboratory,” said President Randel. “Our partnership will combine URA’s strength in broad national and international institutional representation with the University’s depth of expertise and infrastructure for the management of large academic, medical and research enterprises, including Argonne.”

    For their proposal to the DOE for the management of Fermilab, the partners will establish a new not-for-profit Limited Liability Company. The partners also will engage the other research universities in the region--—Illino-is Institute of Technology, Northern Illinois University, Northwestern University, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

    Fermilab is a one of the world’s leading centers for scientific research in elementary particle physics and astrophysics. The laboratory has a staff of about 2,000 employees on a 6,800-acre site near Batavia, about 30 miles west of Chicago. Some 3,000 scientists from 260 universities and laboratories in 37 states and 31 countries collaborate in Fermilab’s experiments to explore the fundamental nature of matter, energy, space and time, as well as the origin, evolution, and destiny of the universe.

    URA, a not-for-profit consortium of 90 leading research-oriented universities, was founded in 1965 to manage and operate national research facilities. Since 1967, URA has been the prime contractor to DOE for the creation and operation of Fermilab.

    The University, a URA consortium member, has managed Argonne for DOE since the laboratory’s founding in 1946. Argonne is located in DuPage County, about 20 miles southeast of Fermilab.

    University faculty members and graduate students have been heavily involved in Fermilab research programs since the early days of the laboratory. They helped design and build the first detector for proton-antiproton collisions, led major experiments, and initiated the astrophysics program and the Pierre Auger Cosmic Ray Observatory in Argentina. Five Fermilab scientists currently teach at the University and supervise graduate students.