Oak Ridge National Laboratory


News Release

Media Contact: Mike Bradley ()
Communications and External Relations


Wadsworth cites ORNL, Memphis ties in FedEx speech

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., April 30, 2004 — Oak Ridge is a long way from Memphis, but Oak Ridge National Laboratory technology soon could have more of a presence in the state's largest city, ORNL Director Jeff Wadsworth said Friday.

In a speech to about 150 West Tennessee business leaders for the FedEx Institute of Technology, Wadsworth cited the positive impact of ORNL's work in nanoscience, supercomputing and biology on Tennessee's economy.

That impact soon may be even more significant in Memphis.

ORNL seeks to team with the Port of Memphis to install a sensor integration architecture associated with a national warning alert network that allows emergency decision makers to quickly detect, identify and assess releases of chemical and radiological materials. The network, known as SensorNet, helps informed first responders to be dispatched within minutes.

Sensors as part of ORNL's SensorNet already are deployed in Nashville, Knoxville and Oak Ridge, and in other parts of the nation. Additional deployment of SensorNet is planned for Memphis, Chattanooga and Sullivan County in Upper East Tennessee.

ORNL also will be involved in the Department of Homeland Security's new "Safe Cities" initiative to transfer and integrate existing and emerging homeland security technology systems to local governments in order to improve their disaster preparedness and response capabilities.

Because Memphis is in the running with several other municipalities seeking "Safe Cities" designation, ORNL soon might play a larger role in the city's homeland security effort.

Wadsworth also talked about how ORNL partnerships with Tennessee's corporate leaders such as FedEx could hasten the advent of technology transfer across the state.

"Building partnerships with industry as a means of putting ORNL's innovations to work is one of our priorities," Wadsworth said. "We welcome the opportunity to explore commercial partnerships that will benefit the lab, the company and the state."

The FedEx Institute for Technology, a partnership between FedEx Corporation and the University of Memphis, is now collaborating with ORNL to promote the transfer of ORNL research results to biotechnology and information technology companies in Memphis and West Tennessee, he said.

Wadsworth also cited Battelle Ventures, a venture capital fund formed in September to promote creation of companies from technologies that Battelle owns, manages or influences.

The fund, a 12-year partnership with committed funds of $150 million, will be directed at seed and early stage technology opportunities.

Wadsworth's talk, titled "The 21st Century Oak Ridge National Laboratory," was part of the institute's Center for Managing Emerging Technologies Vision Series of lecture.

ORNL is managed for the Department of Energy by UT-Battelle.