Oak Ridge National Laboratory


News Release

Media Contact: Mike Bradley ()
Communications and External Relations


Department of Energy's ORNL, Jackson State sign mentor-protege agreement

Signing the mentor-protégé agreement between ORNL and Jackson State University are (from left) Robert Brown, deputy manager, DOE Oak Ridge Operations; Ronald Mason, president, Jackson State University; and Thom Mason, ORNL director. At right is Will Minter, director of the ORNL Small Business Programs Office.

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Jan. 24, 2008 — The U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Jackson State University have launched a joint initiative that will help expand the university's research programs and promote research collaboration at both institutions.

The initiative is the second Mentor Protégé Agreement between a Department of Energy lab and a historically black college or university. The first agreement was signed in July 2007, by ORNL and Morehouse College in Atlanta.

"Matching the talents of an acclaimed university with the resources of a world-class national laboratory emphasizes the importance of training the next generation of scientists," William Valdez, Director of Workforce Development for the Department of Energy's Office of Science said. "This agreement capitalizes on the intellectual and infrastructure capabilities of both renowned institutions to achieve first-rate scientific research."

ORNL Director Thom Mason said the partnership gives the lab opportunities to gain access to new expertise; extend research capabilities; and identify exceptional candidates for positions at ORNL.

"We look forward to making our capabilities available to Jackson State University faculty and students, and to the contributions that they will make to our missions and programs," Mason said.

The new agreement will help provide new ORNL opportunities for joint initiatives in fields where Jackson State University's capabilities are nationally known, such as chemistry, environmental science, and human health. "Our students and faculty will benefit from experience with ORNL's state-of-the-art research facilities, modern laboratory equipment, and expert science staff," said Ronald Mason Jr., President of Jackson State. "This is a very important partnership for our university."

ORNL's Mentor-Protégé Program is part of a DOE initiative designed to encourage and help small businesses perform contracts and subcontracts for ORNL. In addition to HBCUs and minority educational institutions, program participants include small disadvantaged businesses, and those owned by women or service-disabled veterans. Jackson State University, established in 1877 and located in Mississippi's capital city of Jackson, already works with ORNL on emergency operations management and disaster response systems that are critical to enhancing national security. Jackson State University enrolls approximately 8000 students and is a partner in ORNL's Southeast Region Research Initiative (http://www.serri.org/).

Other connections between ORNL and the university include Jackson State faculty and student research in ORNL's Chemical Sciences Division last summer; planned faculty-students projects in the Engineering Science and Technology Division; and ORNL staff member Paul Ewing serving on the university's College of Science, Engineering and Technology Advisory Board.

For more information on the DOE Office of Science, visit: http://www.sc.doe.gov/. For more about Jackson State University, go to: http://www.jsums.edu/.