Skip to main content

ORAU Consortium Membership

Exclusive opportunities for faculty and students are among the benefits of ORAU University Consortium membership

Keeping our nation on the leading edge of science and technology is at the heart of everything we do at ORAU. That’s why our 100+ member university consortium is so important. Through partnerships with our university consortium, ORAU works with government agencies, national labs and private industry  to advance scientific research and education.

Being a member of ORAU’s University Consortium has its privileges, including access to unique vehicles for funding research, professional growth and development opportunities, and interesting collaborations.

  • Unique funding vehicles - ORAU has a variety of contract vehicles in place to help you establish a working relationship with us more quickly and efficiently.
    • The ORAU-Directed Research and Development (ODRD) investment program provides a path for funding innovative research-based approaches/solutions with our partner universities.
    • ORAU’s Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract vehicles assist eligible member universities in supporting the science and technology needs of federal agencies.
    • GSA schedules provide access to a range of ORAU services that may be used by federal agencies.
  • Professional growth - ORAU’s numerous annual programs offer grants, knowledge-strengthening competitions, and interactions with scientific leaders that will enhance the professional growth and development of your institution’s faculty and students.
  • Collaborations - Exploring opportunities to foster mutually-beneficial education and research collaborations between ORAU’s programs and our university partners are a high priority. ORAU actively works with its member universities to connect their expertise with government and private sector organizations and to create meaningful partnerships for innovation in scientific research and education.

As we continue to build on our rich history of promoting excellence in science and education, we invite you to take advantage of University Consortium membership. Your institution can help influence innovative changes in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines, and positively influence America’s education agenda.

  • The Board of Directors of Oak Ridge Associated Universities has approved the following criteria for evaluation of applications to become sponsoring institutions and associate members. The Council will consider applications in the context that:

    • ORAU recognizes that university partnerships and interaction with national laboratories, such as Oak Ridge National Laboratory, have become more global in nature;
    • ORAU acknowledges that membership criteria and institutions change over time. Institutions may retain their current status by continued payment of appropriate dues, and may apply to change status at the annual deadline;
    • ORAU will recruit top tier research institutions as strategic partners that complement ORAU core competencies and enhance the competitiveness of ORAU and the existing members. ORAU will focus on colleges and universities with synergistic interests that would provide value to the consortium. ORAU welcomes universities from all geographic regions with a strong focus on how universities complement the needs and interests of current members. An international university may apply to become a sponsoring or associate member; and
    • ORAU will consider applicants for membership annually.

    Sponsoring Institutions

    A. An ORAU sponsoring institution must be a non-profit institution of higher learning granting doctoral degrees in areas complementary to the interests of ORAU members and/or the programs of ORAU itself. An institution must be accredited by regional organizations and by appropriate professional organizations.

    B. The following desirable criteria will be considered in reviewing applications. Candidate institutions that do not meet these criteria may be encouraged to apply to become associate members of ORAU.

    1. Be among the nation's top universities as measured by inclusion in the top Carnegie categories of Research Universities and/or inclusion in the top 200 institutions listed in the NSF R&D expenditures tables.
    2. Be a comprehensive program offering doctoral degrees in multiple science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields for a minimum of the five previous years.

    C. For international universities applying for membership as a sponsoring institution, the preferred approach would be for the international applicant to be recommended by an ORAU sponsoring institution.

    Associate Members

    Associate Members of the consortium are most effective when mutual benefit exists. As these institutions are often experiencing rapid growth or change in technical focus, the Associate Members are reviewed periodically to determine if it is appropriate to apply for Sponsoring Membership and if the mutual benefit remains strong. Reviews are planned at five year intervals and will be initiated for one-fifth of the Associates in 2016.

    A. An ORAU associate member institution must be an accredited institution of higher learning offering bachelor’s, master’s or a limited number of doctoral degrees in areas complementary to the interests of ORAU members and/or the programs of ORAU; AND

    B. The applicant must be recommended/supported by either a sponsoring institution or an ORAU program based on client needs; AND

    C. The applicant will typically be ranked in the top 400 institutions for science and engineering research federal expenditures by NSF (Table 17 NCSES HERD) or have received an annual average of $2 million of federal research funding over the prior 3 years; AND

    D. The applicant must offer graduate degrees in at least two science, engineering or mathematics fields.

  • Each institution in ORAU’s University Consortium appoints a representative to the Council of Sponsoring Institutions, which governs ORAU in accordance with the Council’s Charter and By Laws. These representatives, called Councilors, are appointed by the executive head of each Sponsoring or Associate member institution.

    Preferably, the appointed Councilor is the Chief Research Officer for the institution. The Councilor serves as the liaison between the member university and ORAU. Councilor responsibilities and functions include the following:

    • Casts the Sponsoring institution’s vote at the Annual Meeting of the ORAU Council of Sponsoring Institutions (Associate Members do not vote on matters considered by the Council).
    • Notifies the ORAU University Partnerships Office of changes in the appointed Councilor or Chief Research Officer at the institution.
    • Receives and disseminates information on ORAU grant programs and activities to administrators, faculty and students at the institution, including but not limited to Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Program, Event Sponsorship GrantsHeidelberg and Lindau Meetings of Nobel Laureates and Students and the ORAU-Directed Research and Development Program.
    • Manages information flow regarding opportunities for joint funding, participant programs, and ORAU grant programs to appropriate personnel in the university and may choose to engage a team of colleagues to maximize engagement.
    • Arranges campus visits by ORAU staff.
    • Serves as the conduit for submission of proposals to ORAU grant programs, which limits the number of applications from an institution.
    • Understands ORAU core competencies and facilitates partnerships for joint proposals involving university faculty and ORAU subject matter experts.
    • Understands institutional capabilities and interests, strategic plans and asset availability. 
    • Employs technical background, expertise, and interests as a volunteer for service on Council committees, such as award selection committees.
    • Monitors and facilitates payment of the ORAU annual membership dues.

    ORAU New Councilor Orientation from ORAU on Vimeo.

  • A benefit of membership in the ORAU University Consortium is exclusive access to grants, science and technology events, and collaborative opportunities.

    Opportunity Deadlines and Upcoming Events

    Opportunity Deadline
    70th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting Sept. 13, 2019
    ORNL Neutron Sciences Call for Proposals Sept. 18, 2019
    Adversarial Machine Learning Technical Exchange Meeting Sept. 24, 2019
    ORAU Events Sponsorship Program March 1, 2020

    70th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting

    ORAU is again privileged to provide funding to support graduate students to attend the annual meeting of Nobel Laureates in Lindau, Germany. We have sponsored students for this historic event for a number of years, and we are currently soliciting graduate student nominations to attend the 70th Lindau Nobel Laureate Interdisciplinary Meeting to be held June 28 – July 3, 2020.

    • ORAU member institutions may nominate two students per university.
    • Deadline for nominations is Sept. 13, 2019, at 4 p.m. Eastern Time

    Selected students will have the opportunity to attend formal lectures and informal meetings with Nobel Laureate scientists and peers from around the world.  Information on past meetings is available at

    In 2020, the meeting will feature recipients of the Nobel Prize in the field of physics, chemistry and medicine/physiology.  Assuming funding becomes available as anticipated, nominations will be accepted for eligible candidates who:

    • Are U.S. citizens and are currently enrolled at a member university as full-time graduate students;
    • Have completed by June 2020 at least two academic years of graduate studies toward a doctoral degree that encompasses interdisciplinary coursework and research within the disciplines of physics, chemistry and medicine/physiology; and
    • Are planning a dissertation/thesis defense no earlier than January 1, 2021.

    We are seeking nominations for a diverse group of students, including women, minorities and people with disabilities. Students must:

    • Show a genuine interest and engagement in science and research;
    • Display excellence in their principal field of study and, in addition, a commitment to interdisciplinary work as evidenced through dual degrees or interdisciplinary research projects;
    • Receive very strong support of their application by their academic advisory or by an internationally renowned scientist;
    • Not already have a permanent position in academia or industry; and
    • Be a well-rounded individual who can converse with scientists and peers in a meaningful way.

    What Do ORAU Councilors need to do?

    The application process will begin on August 1, 2019, and will extend to Sept. 13, 2019, at 4 p.m. Eastern Time. Refer to the “What Councilors Need to Do” document for further information and instructions. Also, a sample nomination letter template you are welcome to use. All applications and supporting documentation must be received by the deadline to be considered by the ORAU Scientific Committee. To access the application, go to The competitive selection process for the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting occurs in four phases:

    1. Students apply to the Zintellect applicant system. This will include providing supporting documentation such as a CV, two (2) reference letters, a personal statement, and a research abstract. ORAU member institution councilors must provide an endorsement of the candidate to be considered by the ORAU Scientific Committee. Only two candidates from each ORAU member institution will be considered.
    2. Eligible students’ applications will be reviewed by the ORAU Scientific Committee. Selected applicants will be nominated on behalf of the United States to the Lindau Scientific Committee for final review and selection.
    3. Once nominated by the ORAU Scientific Committee, students will be instructed on how to submit a complete application within the Lindau Napers electronic system. Submissions to Lindau will be due on Oct. 15, 2019.
    4. The Lindau Scientific Committee will review all submitted nominations and will select the final meeting attendees. Final nominees will be notified in early spring 2020 of their application status.

    If you have any questions or need further information, please contact Jennifer Callais (

    ORNL Neutron Sciences Call for Proposals

    Proposals for beam time at Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) and Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) will be accepted via the web-based proposal system until noon (EDT), Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019. This call is for experiments anticipated to run from January through June 2020.

    To learn more about submitting a proposal for beam time, go to or directly to the proposal system at Previously submitted proposals may be used as the basis for new proposals. Proposals will be reviewed for feasibility, safety, and the potential for high-impact science. Before beginning approved experiments, users must complete access and training requirements and ensure that the appropriate user agreements are in place.

    For more information about this call and the instruments available during this experimental period is included on the ORNL Neutron Sciences website at All questions pertaining to this Call for Proposals should be addressed to the Neutron Scattering Science User Office, or (865) 574-4600.

    Adversarial Machine Learning Technical Exchange Meeting

    In support of ORAU’s new strategic partnership with The MITRE Corporation, we are pleased to announce that the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE), a part of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), will be conducting a Technical Exchange Meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019, from 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. in Rockville, Md. Presentations will be made by NIST, academia, and private corporations. This event will take place at the NCCoE and will be also be offered via live broadcast. The goal of the meeting is for participants to share and learn about:

    • New approaches to defend against attacks;
    • Metrics (of attack strength, defensive robustness) and the necessary elements for a useful metric; and
    • Current work efforts and roadmaps of presenting organizations (government, academia and Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs).

    The meeting will be offered both onsite and remote. Registration and further information can be found at

  • Now that you are an ORAU Consortium Member, you want to begin reaping the full benefits as quickly as possible. That’s why the Memorandum of Understanding is so important.

    Our MOU facilitates rapid collaboration between ORAU and your institution on potential proposals or projects. The MOU allows a pre-negotiation of standard terms for a Non-Disclosure Agreement and Teaming Agreement before they are required. Member Institutions are requested to sign the MOU and NDA after terms have been negotiated and needs of the institution have been met. 

    The fully executed MOU, which remains active for a three-year period, meets the requirement for access to the Value through Partnerships external, secure SharePoint site where partnership opportunities are posted. As these opportunities result into specific proposals and projects, a statement of work is incorporated into the Teaming Agreement.

    If you have business questions about the MOU, please contact Laura Bowen.

    If you have legal questions regarding modifications of the terms, please contact Rachel Lokitz.

  • Adding value to your membership in ORAU’s University Consortium is a priority for us. To that end, ORAU partners with private industry on major government contracts, primarily Indefinite-Delivery Indefinite-Quantity (IDIQ) awards. Many of these awards provide opportunities for Consortium members to conduct real-world research for government agencies. 

    Information on available opportunities can be found on our secure Value through Partnerships SharePoint site. Only members that have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and Nondisclosure Agreement (NDA) with ORAU are granted access to this site. If you have already established an account, please visit the SharePoint site via the link below and enter your login credentials.

    Value through Partnerships SharePoint site

    If your institution is an ORAU Consortium member and has not signed an MOU and NDA and wishes to do so, please contact Cathy Fore or Laura Bowen. Once these documents are fully executed, a SharePoint account can be created.

  • A visit from ORAU to your campus should be a valuable highlight of your membership in the ORAU University Consortium. A campus visit offers an opportunity for ORAU representatives to join in value-added conversations with university leadership, faculty and students. Campus visits help us gain a deeper understanding of your institution’s research agenda and priorities, and they help us learn how your priorities align with ORAU's core competencies. Through this alignment, we can build a better, stronger partnership together, resulting in mutually-beneficial collaborations.

    A campus visit may be a newsworthy event, especially if a presentation or seminar by a member of ORAU’s team is included in the visit agenda.

    Because campus visits can be newsworthy, we have developed a campus visit toolkit to assist you in planning and organizing the visit. The toolkit includes:

    • A campus visit agenda template
    • A seminar announcement template
    • A biography for the ORAU representative(s) conducting the visit
    • A sample news release for use in publicizing the visit and seminar or for new members to announce ORAU visits during and after the membership process.

    To schedule a campus visit, or to obtain a copy of the campus visit toolkit, call the University Partnerships Office at 865.576.6513 or

University researcher in laboratory
Enhancing awareness and opportunities for research collaborations

Enhancing awareness and opportunities for research collaborations

ORAU continues to enhance its consortium members’ awareness of a variety of ORAU contract vehicles, avenues for joint proposals with ORAU, and opportunities to engage in applied research with ORAU, private industry and/or federal customers. While opportunities are continually being generated and refined, the ultimate goal is to provide a strong benefit to consortium members and ORAU alike by supporting research and scientific advancement in mutually beneficial areas, enhanced collaborations between members and ORAU and increased support for university initiatives that align with private sector and federal customer needs.

Contact us

To learn more about how to become an ORAU consortium member, contact ORAU's University Partnerships at 865.576.6513 or