Today at Berkeley Lab

Director’s Message on Lab Management and Stewardship

Often when I talk about the Laboratory, I describe the Government Owned – Contractor Operated model by which the Lab is managed. The U.S. Department of Energy owns the primary assets of the Laboratory, and the DOE research offices provide funds to support the research projects here, making sure that these projects are focused on the research priorities of the nation. The University of California operates the Laboratory under a contract with the DOE, and all of us who work here are UC employees.

At the 2017 State of the Lab talks I gave a few months ago, I said that we were engaged with the Berkeley Site Office (BSO) and the UC Office of the National Laboratories (UCNL) in a contract reform initiative. We have had several tri-party working groups developing a leaner and more coherent contract that governs the management and operation of the Lab. I can report that we are on track with that effort, and the BSO will be submitting the resulting recommendations to the DOE Office of Science for review in the near future.

The Office of Science evaluates the Laboratory every year in a process described here. The eight performance goals that we are judged by are:
• Mission Accomplishment (Delivery of Science & Technology)
• Design, Construction and Operation of Research Facilities
• Science and Technology Project/Program Management
• Leadership and Stewardship of the Laboratory
• Integrated Environment, Safety and Health Protection
• Business Systems
• Facilities Maintenance and Infrastructure
• Security and Emergency Management

A central goal of the contract reform process has been to align the contract with the performance goals we are judged by. All of us involved in this effort believe that this will make it possible for us to focus our attention on doing outstanding research with great national impact, while providing the stewardship needed so that this will remain a great Lab in the future.

On Dec. 5, the Deputy Lab Directors and I were at DOE Headquarters to receive the Lab’s grades from Steve Binkley, Interim Director of the Office of Science, and other leaders of the organization, including Paul Golan, who leads the Berkeley Site Office. The top-level grades for the eight goals are published every year, and you can see them here. We were pleased with the results, in particular the fact that we received an “A” in Mission Accomplishment. This grade reflects their judgment of the outstanding quality of our research, and of the Annual Laboratory Plan that we provide each year, which I described in a TABL message last June.

All of us who have leadership roles at Berkeley Lab are charged with the stewardship of the Lab, ensuring that it remains an enormously valuable national asset for the long-range future. We carry out this responsibility by maintaining the highest standards of research, by leading the people who work here in the most thoughtful and responsible way, and by managing the Lab’s resources in the most effective and sustainable way for the benefit of the country. I will be talking more with you in the coming year about how we can make sure we provide this important stewardship of the Laboratory.