May 25, 1995
Vol. 14, No. 18

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    Argonne contract provides fund for joint research projects

    The University signed a four-year contract yesterday with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to continue to manage Argonne National Laboratory through the end of the decade. The contract includes the creation of a special University of Chicago-Argonne research fund to encourage joint projects between University faculty and Argonne scientists.

    With sites in Argonne, Ill., and in Idaho, Argonne is one of the nation's leading scientific research laboratories. Its 5,000 employees perform research and engineering work in fields ranging from energy technology to high-speed computing. Argonne's annual operating budget is $500 million.

    An important new feature of the contract is a management fee that will be paid to the University based upon the DOE's evaluation of the laboratory's performance. The University has committed 20 percent of such fee to a fund that will support joint University-Argonne research at the laboratory by scientists from both institutions.

    President Sonnenschein and Deputy Secretary of Energy William White were among the officials who participated in the signing ceremony at Argonne's headquarters building. Key players on the University's negotiating team include Samuel Golden, Associate General Counsel; John Kroll, Associate Comptroller for University Accounting & Financial Management; James LaFevers, Executive Director and Deputy to Vice President for Argonne; and Henry Webber, Associate Vice President for Administration. The team worked under the direction of Arthur Sussman, General Counsel and Vice President for Administration and Argonne National Laboratory.

    In a letter to Argonne employees, Sonnenschein said the University entered the negotiations on the new agreement with three primary goals: to maintain Argonne's ability to perform first-class science and engineering; to manage the laboratory in a way that continues its excellence; and to avoid any liabilities or risks under the new contract that could jeopardize the University's health.

    "I am happy to report that the agreement is fully compatible with these principles," Sonnenschein wrote. "We look forward to continuing to work with the laboratory and with the Department of Energy to maintain Argonne's pre-eminence. As Argonne begins to celebrate its 50th anniversary, we are happy to remain your partner." Sonnenschein also noted the leadership of Laboratory Director Alan Schriesheim, whose negotiating team worked with those from the University and the DOE.

    Argonne National Laboratory was formed in 1946 as an outgrowth of the Metallurgical Laboratory at the University that in 1942 produced the first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction. Today, in addition to their basic research, Argonne researchers are studying problems in energy production and use, the environment, economic competitiveness and health. Next year, Argonne will commission its Advanced Photon Source, the world's most powerful source of X-rays. The APS will be used by researchers at Argonne, at the University and from around the world to gain an unprecedented look at the microstructure of solid materials.