Today at Berkeley Lab

New Strategic Partnerships Office Formed

As of March 1, Berkeley Lab’s contracts officers who support non-DOE federal and non-federal work (formerly referred to as Work for Others) have been merged into a new group – the Strategic Partnerships Office – within the Lab Directorate.

The new Strategic Partnerships Office (SPO), which combines the contracts officers who were previously in the Innovation and Partnerships Office (IPO) and the Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO), will give the Lab’s principal investigators and scientific leadership a single point of contact and additional support in pursuing research opportunities and building engagements with non-DOE stakeholders, including the state of California, other federal agencies, and industry.

As Berkeley Lab’s strategic partner-funded research, inter-lab projects, and user facility work have grown in the last few years to nearly $150 million in fiscal year 2017, the internal Lab operations and systems that support these activities have not been able to keep pace with the increasing demand, said Horst Simon, Deputy Director for Research.

The new SPO is responsible for contracts and grants with non-DOE entities, including Cooperative Research and Development Agreements, user agreements, and non-disclosure agreements. It also handles inter-lab work orders among DOE laboratories.

The licensing and patent teams are now part of a renamed Intellectual Property Office and will continue to be responsible for DOE reporting and contractual deliverables relating to patents and other intellectual property-related activities.

Chief Counsel Jeff Blair will serve as interim head of SPO, and Elsie Quaite Randall will continue as head of the Intellectual Property Office. Both groups will continue to report to the Deputy Director for Research.

Over the next several months, Blair will work with Lab leadership to determine the appropriate scope and scale for the new Strategic Partnerships Office in light of the increasing demands from DOE and elsewhere for greater non-DOE projects.

“The new SPO group will enable the Lab to significantly improve our customer service, and will create new capacity and expertise directed to ensuring successful outcomes in our complex, non-standard multi-party engagements,” said Simon.