University Partnerships

Today’s universities face increasing pressure to secure research funding and attract the brightest students to ensure our country’s global competitiveness. As a non-profit, federal contractor and university consortium, ORAU is working with our member institutions to pursue collaborative, externally funded research projects involving university researchers and ORAU experts. These opportunities are being fueled by a targeted effort to more tightly connect with and tap the university research talent present in our membership to build the right partnerships and expertise needed to win this funding. Our history of providing meaningful opportunities for the professional development of university faculty and students supports this new value proposition for our university members.

  • Partnering to expand research boundaries

    Logos for the University of Kentucky and the University of Alabama at Huntsville

    In an effort to expand research boundaries beyond that of any single university, ORAU is identifying opportunities that blend the talent found in our member universities as well as our own programs. One example of this type of collaboration in 2011 was with the University of Kentucky (UK) College of Communications and Information Studies and the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) Information Technology and Systems Center.

    UK recently unveiled a Digital Content Analysis lab that provides media monitoring services through on-demand access to television broadcasts with the ability to search, view, analyze and manage content from 20 television stations within a half-hour of broadcast. The UK team has conducted risk and crisis-related analyses of the H1N1 virus and salmonella outbreaks with the goal of analyzing broader coverage so that this innovation can help health and safety professionals respond in risk and crisis situations. A satellite, digital content analysis server will be placed at UAH to expand the scope of the current system and demonstrate market variation. As development continues, ORAU plans to involve other member universities on this project as well as related risk and crisis research.

  • Awarding research grants to junior faculty from member institutions

    In 2011, ORAU awarded a total of $150,000 to 30 individual faculty members as part of the Ralph E. Powe Awards. The annual grants provide funds to enrich the research and professional growth of junior faculty. Nicolas Zegre, Ph.D. (pictured here, third from left), of West Virginia University, received a 2011 Powe award to continue his studies on the causes of flooding in southern West Virginia by tracking the length of time that rainfall is retained by watersheds in the region.

    Photo courtesy of Brian Persinger, WVU Photography Services.

    Nicolas Zegre, 2011 Powe Award winner
  • Looking for a more reliable alternative to GPS

    Each year, ORAU and ORNL co-sponsor summer research appointments for HBCU and MEI faculty. In 2011, Brian Kelley, Ph.D., assistant professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio, spent 10 weeks collaborating with ORNL mentor Stephen Smith, Ph.D. The purpose of his research was to develop next-generation radio location systems with superior characteristics to conventional GPS. Kelley had a theory of a new style of radio location that could operate in environments where GPS is not functional, and ORNL provided the opportunity to put his theories into practice. “Though I collaborated with many brilliant technologists in industry,” said Kelley, “I had not had an opportunity to conduct research in a federal research lab since graduate school. ORNL’s staff has an amazing reputation. The experience has been fantastic.”

    Dr. Brian Kelley
  • Convening top graduate students from U.S. with Nobel Laureates

    Since 1951, Nobel Laureates have annually convened in Lindau, Germany, to have open and informal meetings with students and early career researchers from around the world. Laureates and students exchange ideas, discuss projects and build international networks throughout the week. This year, ORAU sponsored more than 25 students to attend both the 2011 Lindau physiology/medicine meeting and the 2011 Lindau meeting on economics. Nearly 600 students from 77 countries attended the two weeklong meetings in Germany. Participating Laureates both lectured and participated in less formal small group discussions with the students.

    Students exchange ideas at the annual Lindu meeting in Germany
  • Exploring the research and education needs driven by
    U.S. security and intelligence objectives

    ORAU welcomed more than 100 attendees to its 66th Annual Meeting of the Council of Sponsoring Institutions. The meeting brought together representatives from leading universities and national laboratories for a two-day workshop focused on the unique challenges and opportunities related to research and education in the security and intelligence fields.

    University program leaders also shared successful models for research programs, strategies for conducting classified research and guidance for developing forensic science programs.

    66th Annual Meeting of the Council of Sponsoring Institutions