Today at Berkeley Lab

A Note from Director Paul Alivisatos to the Berkeley Lab Community

Dear Lab Community,

Alivisatos_v2 copy-smallFor me, the best thing about working at Berkeley Lab is the Lab community. The spirit of collaboration and standards of excellence that I find here everyday are both inspiring and humbling. But sometimes we can lose sight of this key quality of the Lab, and forget that it needs all of us to continually support it, especially during times of growth and development. We are about to enter such a time, and I am asking for your support to make this transition as smooth as possible.

Over the last couple of years, our operations community has accepted a difficult challenge — to significantly modernize the infrastructure for the services they provide. These upgrades will not only offer more robust support to our science, they will also allow us to do business more effectively and efficiently

We are updating our financial systems (F$M), and our Work Planning and Control (WPC) System. We are transforming our Procurement Department, and our HR Service Center. In addition, we are now bringing on line an unprecedented number of new research facilities — GPL, FLEXLAB, SERC and CRT. I expect all of these initiatives to improve the support to the Lab’s scientific mission.

Alone, each of these initiatives represents a significant shift in how we do things at the Lab. Together, they signal transformative — and positive — change. As we come into the final months of this fiscal year, I’d like to remind us of the challenges inherent in these transitions, and to highlight a few of the pressure points that we’ll all experience so that all of us will be better able to adapt and cope with these changes.

Year-end is the busiest time for many of the Lab’s operational units. Deploying the new Financial System and the Work Planning and Control System will require enormous effort from the project teams working in close collaboration with the Lab. To assure the systems are deployed effectively, there will be required training and transitional impacts (such as “blackout” periods for procurement and financial transactions) when we switch systems. All of these impacts will be communicated in advance by the appropriate organization.


(Photo by Roy Kaltschmidt/Berkeley Lab)

We talk a lot about teamwork and the collaborative spirit at Berkeley Lab, and this is important to us because it defines who we are. It is my expectation that we all work together in that spirit, even when there are challenges. As a unified team, we need to acknowledge and expect that there will be transitional bumps in the road as we “go live” with the new systems, move into new facilities, and draw on very busy operational units for support to our scientific mission; all things will not necessarily operate as smoothly as we want or hope. This is a normal consequence of rolling out the significant new systems and facilities here. We will do our best to ensure stakeholders are kept apprised of and can manage any particular issue of concern or interest as or before it may arise.

I recognize there will be strain on the system and that you may experience some frustration as a result. This also is to be expected. So I just want to remind us that we need to continue to engage respectfully and constructively with all of the members of our Lab community as we make the changes necessary to allow us meet the challenges of the 21st century.

Thank you.

Paul Alivisatos