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U.S. Department of Energy

Partnering with DOE to Impact the U.S. Scientific Mission through ORISE

Department of Energy sealORISE logo

ORAU has no larger or more important partnership than the one it shares with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Together, ORAU and DOE have built an unwavering commitment to addressing critical national needs in science as well as health, the environment and national security.

Through this long-standing relationship with DOE, ORAU manages the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) and supports DOE’s mission accomplishment in:

  • Strengthening the U.S. scientific research and education enterprise particularly in energy and the STEM fields to enhance global competitiveness
  • Building public trust and confidence in the management of worker and public health and environmental cleanup initiatives
  • Enhancing our nation’s preparedness to respond to emergencies related to terrorist incidents, natural disasters, and other health and security threats
ORAU technician performs radiological characterization

ORISE impacts…

Advancing science and STEM workforce development

Because workforce development is at the core of ORAU’s non-profit mission, we have developed robust recruiting networks that span the United States and encompass all demographics. In FY15, university-level participants in ORAU-administered programs represented all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as 107 countries. In addition, participants represented 1,114 U.S. and foreign colleges and universities 96% of these researchers majored in STEM fields.

Impacting Millions in Government Funding for Scientific Research

ORAU-led peer reviews have helped facilitate more than $56 million in funding opportunities specifically for DOE-SC’s Early Career Research Program. Additionally, ORAU peer review has supported the allocation of more than 5.7 billion processor hours at ORNL and Argonne National Laboratory through DOE’s Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment, or INCITE, Program. More broadly, for five separate DOE-SC program offices in FY14, ORAU peer review specialists supported dozens of other reviews totaling more than $646 million in potential federal funding awards.

Supporting DOE’s Recognition of Outstanding Scientists and Engineers

DOE-SC administers three prestigious award programs on behalf of the White House. The Enrico Fermi Award recognizes distinguished scientific career accomplishments; the Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award is bestowed on mid-career scientists; and the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers recognizes exceptional researchers beginning their independent research careers. In FY14, ORAU processed the nominations of 93 scientists and engineers and managed three peer reviews and award ceremonies where recipients were recognized. Combined, the award programs recognized 14 recipients and represented awards totaling $220,000.


As part of a series of nationwide readiness drills known as Capstone 2014, more than 25 experts from ORAU led planning, execution and after-action review for the full-scale NUWAIX 2014 on behalf of DOE, through ORISE. Held in Grand Junction, Colorado, this national-level, DOE-sponsored exercise involved a wide range of interagency partners, including DHS/FEMA, EPA, FBI and various state and local entities, and represented the culmination of a year’s worth of planning and preparation. During the exercise, nearly 650 responders from local, state and federal agencies simulated an emergency response to a hypothetical traffic accident on Interstate 70 in Colorado that jeopardized sensitive radiological cargo on a tractor trailer while in DOE custody.

Supporting DOE Medical Screenings for Thousands of Former Workers

Through the National Supplemental Screening Program (NSSP)—managed by ORAU since 2005—DOE provides exposure-based, medical screenings to former energy workers. Eligible workers include those from eight DOE sites and sites with no other assigned DOE Former Worker Program (FWP) as well as FWP-referral participants living outside their screening area. As of 2014, nearly 13,500 eligible workers have participated in these screenings that are designed to identify certain occupational diseases such as respiratory illnesses or cancer. These tests also made more than 85 percent of those participating in the program aware of previously undiagnosed, yet addressable, nonoccupational health conditions, such as elevated blood sugar or blood pressure.