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ORAU Sponsoring Institutions Explore Research and Education Needs Driven by the Nation's Security and Intelligence Objectives

National laboratories and government agencies seek university collaboration for research in nuclear nonproliferation, nuclear forensics, biosecurity and other key initiatives

April 5, 2011

ORAU donates $20,000 to Anderson County Schools

ORAU President and CEO Andy Page introduces the keynote presentation at ORAU's 66th Annual Meeting of the Council of Sponsoring Institutions.

OAK RIDGE, Tenn.—ORAU welcomed more than 100 attendees to its 66th Annual Meeting of the Council of Sponsoring Institutions, which 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. A special session of ORAU's Historically Black Colleges and Universities/Minority Education Institutions Council focused on identifying joint initiatives to accelerate minority participation in this area of research.

"The unconventional tactics our enemies would use to threaten our national security requires continuous innovation in our intelligence strategy and the research that drives its successful application," said ORAU President and CEO Andy Page. "With that in mind, we planned this event to focus on the untapped potential in our universities as partners in advancing our nation's security capabilities."

The Security and Intelligence Workshop focused on the need for collaboration among national labs, universities and government agencies to develop scientific breakthroughs that can be applied to new security capabilities. Topics related to nuclear nonproliferation remain a top area of interest, including nuclear policy, inspection protocols and nuclear forensic science. Other topics of interest include biosecurity innovations to counter biologic threats and cyber security enhancement to protect the nation's energy infrastructure. Guest speakers included representatives from the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Intelligence, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Y-12 National Security Complex, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the National Science Foundation.

University program leaders also shared successful models for research programs, strategies for conducting classified research and guidance for developing forensic science programs. Export control and the security and personnel challenges of conducting classified research in a university environment were cited among the top challenges. Speakers also pointed to a shortage of qualified instructors as an obstacle for universities that offer degrees in the forensic sciences.

"Within our university consortium is tremendous expertise in fields such as the material, chemical and computational sciences; engineering; human behavior; and foreign policy that all have significant roles in security and intelligence applications," said Dr. Arlene Garrison, vice president for University Partnerships at ORAU. "Collaboration between government agencies, national labs and academic resources applies our nation's best minds to solving some of our most complex problems."

The keynote address was provided by Kevin W. Smith, manager of the National Nuclear Security Administration Los Alamos Site Office and former manager of NNSA's Y–12 Site Office in Oak Ridge, Tenn. Smith provided insights on launching a new education program based on his success with the America's Veterans to Tennessee Engineers STEM initiative, a program for military members completing their service and interested in becoming nuclear, chemical, civil, electrical or mechanical engineers.

A complete list of speakers, topics and links to presentations is available online.

ORAU provides innovative scientific and technical solutions to advance national priorities in science, education, security and health. Through specialized teams of experts, unique laboratory capabilities and access to a consortium of more than 100 major Ph.D.-granting institutions, ORAU works with federal, state, local and commercial customers to advance national priorities and serve the public interest. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation and federal contractor, ORAU manages the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

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