DOE awards $20M to form new Oak Ridge Institute at the University of Tennessee

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The United States Department of Energy has awarded $20 million to form a new Oak Ridge Institute at the University of Tennessee.

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander says that he expects the new institute will be recognized as one of the most important science and engineering alliances in the world.

This award is a move to expand the university’s partnership with the Oak Ridge National Lab (ORNL) to train the next generation of American scientists and engineers.

“This $20 million federal grant is in support of an institute that is the culmination of 40 years of effort to merge the strengths of UT-Knoxville and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

The Oak Ridge Institute will be a pipeline for a new supply of American-trained scientists and engineers, which our country sorely needs in this competitive world. It will also combine the resources and experience of the nation’s largest science and energy laboratory and a major research university. Already, the UT-Oak Ridge partnership has 250 joint faculty, five joint institutes, and 250 Ph.D. students in jointly administered energy and data programs.

With such a strong foundation and such strong current leadership, I am betting that during the next 80 years, the Oak Ridge Corridor brand and the Oak Ridge Institute will be recognized as one of the most important science and engineering alliances in the world.”

Senator Lamar Alexander

University of Tennessee President Randy Boyd says, “This is the first step in establishing ORI as a force to change our state and nation.”

UTK Chancellor Donde Plowman says, “The interdisciplinary nature of ORI gives us unparalleled advantages in attracting students and faculty, resulting in a talent pipeline that will benefit the State of Tennessee, our country, and the world.”

“ORI will help to set us apart, building on our long-standing partnership with the University of Tennessee to develop leaders whose discoveries and innovations will strengthen U.S. economic and national security.”

ORNL Director Thomas Zacharia

“Building a pipeline of well-trained scientists and engineers to solve today’s problems and prepare for tomorrow’s challenges is imperative as we prepare our workforce for the 21st century.”

Gov. Bill Lee


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