Society News Archive

12 January 2017
DOE Report on National Labs

The Department of Energy's (DOE) scientific and technical capabilities are rooted in its system of national laboratories—17 world-class institutions that constitute the most comprehensive research and development network of its kind. The first Annual Report on the State of the DOE National Laboratories describes the DOE National Laboratory System, its role in advancing the frontiers of science and technology, and efforts to ensure it continues as a national resource for the DOE's near- and long-term missions. The DOE committed to prepare this report in response to recommendations from the congressionally mandated Commission to Review the Effectiveness of the National Energy Laboratories (CRENEL) that the DOE should better communicate the value that the laboratories provide to the nation.

The report organizes issues and recommendations into six themes: Recognizing Value, Rebuilding Trust, Maintaining Alignment and Quality, Maximizing Impact, Managing Effectiveness and Efficiency, and Ensuring Lasting Change.

Overall, the report concludes that the vitality of the DOE National Laboratories has improved over the past decade, in part due to investments made through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and from a focus on enhancing the relationship between the laboratories and the DOE, but that hurdles remain in recruiting and retaining the best and brightest researchers and staff, updating aging infrastructure for 21st century needs, continuing to improve operational efficiencies, and further strengthening the partnership with DOE.

This article is adapted from the DOE website.