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ORAU History - 2016

Science Education

Developing the STEM workforce, fostering innovation and investing in research are essential for U.S. global competitiveness. Through a wide spectrum of federally funded or laboratory-based programs, ORAU helps U.S. government agencies ensure that highly qualified talent is available to support their missions. In FY16, opportunities included
research experiences, internships, professional development workshops and science competitions. These programs successfully
inspire and prepare the next generation of scientists, engineers and technicians.

FY16 Participants by Academic Status

  • Undergraduate Students - 1,327
  • Graduate Students - 1,245
  • Recent Graduates - 2,912
  • Postdoctoral Fellows - 1,970
  • University Faculty - 231
  • Other Scientists - 408
  • K-12 Students - 1,223
  • K-12 Teachers - 583
  • Total - 9,899

Peer Review

In FY16, ORAU redesigned and modernized PeerNet, its Web-based
application system for administering peer reviews. Reviewers can now move effortlessly among desktop computers and a range of mobile devices to provide their input. The redesign improved the technologies for security and created a centralized list of ORAU's subject matter experts. Additional enhancements will continue to be made for proposal intake and enriched reporting. Feedback from pilot users has indicated the new system is significantly more intuitive, and existing users need little to no training before using the new system. This redesigned system should increase efficiency of peer review throughput, which will result in cost savings for customers; will create time savings for experts who agree to participate in reviews; and will better ensure the security of proposal details, data and research information contained in the system, which protects the integrity of the review process.

Worker Health

ORAU experts at the ORISE Beryllium Testing Laboratory provide a specialized blood test to identify workers at risk of developing chronic beryllium disease. In 2016, the ORISE Beryllium Testing Laboratory, which is CAP- and CLIA-certified, processed more than 5,000 beryllium lymphocyte proliferation tests. ORAU operates one of only three laboratories in the United States approved to conduct this test.

Public Health

Pandemic Influenza Triage Tools help communities better prepare to evaluate patients, manage patient surge and allocate resources effectively during a pandemic flu outbreak. This suite of tools was developed by ORAU for CDC and made available for public use on the CDC website in 2016. One of the tools, the Pandemic Influenza
Triage Algorithm, helps medical professionals assess patients by using
standardized protocols across all hospital emergency departments,
outpatient clinics and other health care facilities and then directs
patients to appropriate treatment sites efficiently. When used in
tandem with the Community Healthcare Decision Making Tools,
leaders are better prepared to make decisions about handling sudden,
massive patient loads and allocating available resources.

Radiation Emergency Medicine

In 1976, REAC/TS opened its doors in Oak Ridge, to provide 24/7 expertise and support for the medical management of radiation incidents. A DOE asset managed by ORAU, REAC/TS also provides hands-on, continuing medical education courses in radiation emergency medicine. In 2016, REAC/TS celebrated its 40th anniversary with tours and a luncheon that included comments by Dr. Dan Blumenthal, director of NNSA's Consequence Management Program, and a panel discussion with several of REAC/TS' founding staff members. Founding members discussed REAC/TS' early beginnings, its impact through the years, and the value it
still provides today for excellence in radiation emergency medicine, education and response.

Environmental Assessments

ORAU environmental and analytical chemistry experts collected and analyzed more than 3,500 samples in FY16. Samples of all matrices,
including water, soil, air, construction material and biological matter, are analyzed at the ORISE REAL facility, which is managed by ORAU in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Since 1980, ORAU has conducted radiological site assessments, environmental surveys and sample analysis for DOE and NRC and has completed independent verification of environmental cleanup activities at more than 500 sites.

National Security

A series of five interrelated national readiness exercises, known collectively as Capstone 2016, received crucial support from ORAU. These exercises involved several thousand participants, including the federal executive departments headquartered in the National Capital Region, which responded to a terrorist threat scenario involving nuclear weapons. ORAU personnel provided planning, simulation, direct response and performance evaluation support to DOE and the FBI for the seven days of Capstone 2016 in Mobile, Alabama, and Washington, D.C. Capstone 2016 was the culmination of the two-year National Exercise Program cycle and represents the most difficult and
comprehensive planning and evaluation effort within the history of that program. The lessons learned from Capstone 2016, identified through ORAU's employment of its ELLCAS tool, focused on improving capabilities, interagency coordination and emergency response plans.